Posted on Nov 15, 2017
With legendary programs such as Michigan State, Kentucky and Duke joining Kansas for the annual Champions Classic doubleheader, the stars were out in Chicago’s United Center.
One famous face, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, was spotted in the stands sporting a KU shirt and hat. Men’s basketball band members improvised a chant to invite Smith to come jam with the Jayhawks. “He was actually really nice and super excited to play with us,” says band director Sharon Toulouse, f’97, g’05. “A memory these guys will never forget!”
Watch the video below, posted by Chad Smith himself! The original video is from Kolby Coons, c’13.
Posted on Nov 9, 2017
Basketball season is here! The KU men’s basketball team takes on Kentucky in the State Farm Champions Classic on Tuesday, Nov. 14. The game tips off at approximately 8 p.m. (CT), following the first matchup between Duke and Michigan State.
Champions Classic Pregame Party
Join fellow Jayhawks in Chicago for a pregame party! We’re teaming up with Kansas Athletics and the Williams Education Fund to host an event three hours before the first game.
Revel Fulton Market
1215 W. Fulton Market
Admission to the pregame party is $40 for members, Presidents Club members, and Williams Education Fund Members. Admission is $50 for nonmembers, and $15 for non-drinkers and those under 21 years old.
Your ticket includes an open bar and light appetizers. Plus, enjoy the pep rally and tailgate games while perusing the KU Libraries exhibit “Commemorate the Gr8s,” which celebrates the national title teams of 1988 and 2008.
Game watch parties
If you’re not traveling to Chicago, watch the game with fellow alumni, fans and friends at an official KU Alumni watch party! These events are hosted by alumni volunteers and you’ll certainly be surrounded by crimson and blue.
Click here for a list of watch sites. Please note, if there isn’t an official party scheduled on our calendar for a site, we can’t guarantee that the watch sites will show the KU game, especially if there are other college or professional sporting events happening at the same time.
Watch and listen
Watch the Jayhawks on ESPN or listen to the game live on the Jayhawk Radio Network.
Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!
Posted on Oct 23, 2017
It won’t register in either team’s standings or record books, but the Oct. 22 KU-Missouri men’s basketball exhibition game at Kansas City’s Sprint Center counted in a way that mattered much more than sports: The made-for-charity game between two schools that haven’t played each other in men’s basketball since 2012 generated $1.75 million (and rising) for hurricane relief.
“Kudos to both administrations and fan bases for doing something so special,” said KU coach Bill Self. “I admit, I had butterflies. I was excited to be out there.”
After a few pregame chants of the unpleasant, old-school variety—the sort of enmity that made many fans relieved the rivalry was halted by Missouri’s departure for the Southeastern Conference—reverberated inside Sprint Center, the great majority of Jayhawks and Tigers appeared eager to instead root hard for their team while also applauding the afternoon’s real purpose.
During timeouts, the scoreboard played video clips with KU and Mizzou athletes from hurricane-ravaged regions describing the devastation and challenges faced by their families, and thanking fans for supporting the game. Those short video clips generated loud applause by fans from both schools, evidence that the big picture remained clearly in focus, even as a hard-fought game was unfolding on the court.
“You can tell how much juice there was in the building,” said KU senior guard Devonte’ Graham, who led all scorers with 25 points, along with 10 rebounds and five assists. “It was a great atmosphere to play in.”
After KU’s 93-87 victory, both Self and first-year Mizzou coach Cuonzo Martin noted the value in the rare opportunity to play an exhibition game against a Div. 1 opponent—normally not allowed, with exceptions made this year only to support relief causes. Not only did young players get to experience a big-game atmosphere, but the contest also generated game tape that will provide countless teaching moments for the coaches as they continue their season preparations.
“The things we’ve been telling them they’re deficient at,” Self said, “now they’ll believe.”
KU’s next exhibition game is against Pittsburg State, Oct. 31 in Allen Field House.
Update: According to Kansas Athletics, the charity exhibition basketball game generated $2.011 million for victims of recent natural disasters in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The donations are a combination of ticket sales ($1.15 million), the Pay-per-View stream ($768,000) and text-to-give contributions ($68,000). Donations from other entities totaled approximately $25,000, bringing the total donation to some $2.011 million.
Posted on Oct 13, 2017
in Alumni News
Less than a week after Homecoming on the Hill, KU men’s basketball welcomed back one of its most recent stars. In preparation for Friday’s NBA preseason game at Sprint Center, Joel Embiid and his Philadelphia 76ers teammates traveled from Kansas City to Lawrence to hold practice at Allen Field House.
“We looked at it, and we were that close playing in Kansas City we thought it would be appropriate to visit this historic place,” coach Brett Brown said. “The historic perspective of this building, along with Joel’s history here, made it a no-brainer we should drive 45 minutes down the road and experience the building and practice here.”
The Sixers’ practice in Allen Field House gave their lone Jayhawk a rare in-season opportunity to visit the campus he dearly adores.
“I was supposed to take the bus with the team, but I wanted to walk around,” Embiid said. “I wanted to do that just to feel like I stayed for three more years, and I’m definitely going to come back to finish school.”
A secret revealed
The chance to relive his college days led Embiid, ’17, to share a secret about how much time he could have spent on the Hill: “I don’t think anybody knows this story. I actually decided to stay because I love this place so much, but I was kind of pushed to leave. Any time I get the chance to come back I’m going to do that. Stepping on this court, this is where it all started for me, so I’m really thankful.”
The Sixers selected Embiid third overall in the 2014 NBA draft, but the athletic 7-footer has been limited to 31 regular-season NBA games due to foot and back injuries, setbacks that almost led him to quit the game during his second year as a pro. The lack of game experience has not slowed Embiid’s development, due in large part to his capacity as a visual learner.
“It’s a rare skill,” coach Brown says. “He’ll see Dirk Nowitzki do something or Kevin Durant or Tim Duncan back in the day, and the next day it’s in his game and he’s trying it. His spirit is great. We need it to be great.”
This year, expectations for the Sixers include a potential playoff spot, which with a healthy Embiid would not be surprising. As he looks to lead his team to long overdue success, Embiid also knows what he left behind just three years ago.
“I miss the culture,” he says. “You know, the fans were amazing over here. We have some Duke teammates who think they got the best arena, but I always tell them, ‘You never been here.’ Sixteen thousand people cheering, you can’t even hear.”
The Sixers and Heat will tip off at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, in Kansas City’s Sprint Center.
Watch our slideshow below for more pictures from the team’s practice, or view the photos on Flickr.
Posted on Oct 11, 2017
As KU’s varsity rowing team prepares for its Oct. 22 season opener, the always festive Jayhawk Jamboree at Burcham Park on the Kansas River, one small bit of business remains unfinished: naming one of the two new boats that recently joined the Jayhawk fleet.
While one already has an as-yet-to-revealed name, the other shell awaits its moniker, and interim coach Carrie Cook-Callen, b’07, has opted to launch a naming contest. Cook-Callen suggests that entries incorporate University or state themes; to submit an entry, click here.
Fan voting will begin Oct. 16, when the finalists are revealed on the team’s Twitter and Facebook pages, @KU_rowing and /KansasRowing, and concludes the following day. The winning name will be revealed when the boat is christened at the Jayhawk Jamboree.
Posted on Oct 6, 2017
in Alumni News
You’re already in your seat. You’re still in line at the snack bar. Or maybe you are enjoying one last beverage before heading into Memorial Stadium. Be anywhere else but under the east side stands about 40 minutes before kickoff, and you will miss a Marching Jayhawks tradition that’s a little more obscure than most.
For 40 years, the Marching Jayhawks have used one song to pump them up before running onto the field at Memorial Stadium to play the songs that get everyone else ready for the game.
“When it’s hog calling time in Nebraska
When it’s hog calling time in Nebraska
When it’s hog calling time in Nebraska
When it’s hog calling time in Nebraska
If it sounds bizarre and unofficial, that’s because it is. Unlike other KU traditions that date back to the late 19th century, “Hog Calling” began 40 years ago when a group of Marching Jayhawks were bored.
From the top
Lee Whitman, d’82, from Kearney, Nebraska, learned the song while working on staff at a Boy Scout camp. “It was a silly song the staff would sing to the Boy Scout troops, kind of like a comedy skit,” Whitman said.
“It was started my freshman year in 1977 when three friends and I were trying to kill time before run-in by singing classic barbershop quartet songs. Fellow tubas John Clyatt & Gordon Lankenau, drum major Steve Gordon, and I ran through a few songs to scattered applause and had time to do one more. I pulled Hog Calling out and said to just follow my lead. The people listening laughed and next week we were asked to do it again. And so it started. By the time I marched my last game as a student, it had elevated to most of the band gathering around to join in,” Whitman said.
“Don’t ask me what made me suggest the four of us sing it that first time in 1977, or why such a nonsensical song would catch on in Jayhawk nation. It just happened. It was just a time-killer until everyone yelled ‘drums on the field’ meaning we were getting ready to run down the steps and start pregame.”
Surprised that the song is still going strong, 40 years later?
“I thought it would die a swift death after I graduated in 1982.”
Hog Calling today
Bennett Johnson, a Lenexa senior studying music education, is a drum major for the Marching Jayhawks. As a four-year member, Johnson has gone from wide-eyed freshman to a leader for more than 250 students in the band.
“The freshmen in the band aren’t told about it beforehand, and the surprise is pretty amazing,” Johnson said. “I thought it was one of the coolest experiences I’d had at KU so far.”
Like most traditions, the Hog Calling has changed over time. The entire band gathers arm-in-arm in circles and sings the verse two times. In between verses, a band member gives a short speech while everyone hums along to the melody. Afterwards, everyone huddles up for a ‘What time is it? Game time!’ call and response.
Since the sousaphone section started the tradition 40 years ago, it’s only appropriate that they get their time to shine during each rendition today.
“Each game, a different sousaphone member gives the speech and leads the chant at the end,” Johnson said. “The last game of the season is usually taken by the most senior member of the section.”
Despite the changes, don’t expect to hear complaining from those who were there first.
“I love how it has morphed over the years,” Whitman said. “I like that Hog Calling is our band’s private tradition, and the members are free to modify as they see fit. When we started, it was four guys singing at a single run-in line and believe me, even after we graduated we had no idea that the younger students would keep it up!”
The other KU team
As a group of students that commit their free time three days a week to practice—plus gamedays, which are often all-day affairs— the Marching Jayhawks share a bond in their passion for the University, the music, and each other: the other KU team that plays on Saturdays on the hill.
“The band is a family, often as close-knit as any greek house or other similar organization,” Whitman said. “We aren’t all music majors, in fact I think a majority are not. But we love playing, being part of the game day experience, and being a part of one of the best marching band programs around.”
KU’s 105th Homecoming celebration, Jayhawks of the Galaxy, takes place Oct. 1-7, 2017. All alumni are invited to return to their alma mater, including Marching Jayhawks. Band alumni return to Memorial Stadium every Homecoming to march on the field— and join in the hog calling! For a full list of activities and events during Homecoming week, visit the Homecoming website. Homecoming is sponsored by Crown Toyota Volkswagen.
Posted on Sep 27, 2017
in Campus News
On Friday, September 22, Kansas Athletics and the Williams Education Fund launched Raise The Chant, a $350-million fundraising campaign, focused primarily on a major renovation of Memorial Stadium.
University of Kansas Chancellor Doug Girod and Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger presented renderings of the multi-million dollar project, lead by a $50 million pledge from Kansas alumnus and benefactor David Booth, c’68, g’69.
The Booth gift will launch facility improvements with the construction of an indoor football practice facility immediately following the 2017 season. Improvements to the south end zone and the west side of the stadium will follow after the completion of the 2018 season, with enhancements to the north end zone and the stadium’s east side to begin later.
“In listening to Sheahon’s vision of many years,” Booth said, “and believing in where Coach Self’s program is and where Coach Beaty’s program is headed, I am proud to support my alma mater’s athletic program. I believe Sheahon’s plan for football and basketball is essential not only to the future of Kansas Athletics, but also to the university as a whole.”
“The Raise The Chant campaign, with its primary focus on football, addresses an institutional priority for the University of Kansas,” Chancellor Girod said. “A competitive football program benefits the entire university and is important for KU to continue being a strong member of the Big 12 Conference. In recent years, we have transformed the university with nearly $1 billion in new and renovated facilities, and this is the next step in that transformation. I have the utmost confidence in Sheahon and believe we have the right people at the right time for this campaign.”
The campaign continues a trend of rapid growth in athletic facilities, including soccer, track and field, softball and tennis at Rock Chalk Park, and the construction of the DeBruce Center, home of the original rules of basketball, and McCarthy Hall, where the men’s basketball team and other students reside.
Also announced as part of the campaign was a $10 million pledge from volleyball benefactor Stewart Horejsi, b’59, and his family, to build a new, 3,000 arena for the defending Big 12 volleyball champions. Baseball’s long-time home, Hoglund Ballpark, is also in line for renovations and improvements during the “Raise the Chant” campaign.
“We want to extend a heartfelt thanks to our generous donors,” Zenger continued, “in particular David Booth, and Stewart Horejsi and his family. They, once again, have not only bought in to our vision of what Kansas Athletics can be, but also have actively participated in that vision. We appreciate very much the leadership they have shown, and we are confident that others will follow their lead and help make that vision a reality. I’d also like to express our appreciation to Dale Seuferling and the KU Endowment Association for its leadership as we embark on this important campaign.”
To learn more about the campaign or to donate, visit RaiseTheChant.com
Top: Rendering of projected renovations to Memorial Stadium
1911: Fans watch a game against Nebraska at McCook Field. The Jayhawks played at McCook from 1892 to 1921, when Memorial Stadium was built.
1924: Aerial view of Memorial Stadium
1967: KU hosts Missouri in the Border War
1978: Memorial Stadium after receiving a $1.8 million dollar renovation
Posted on Sep 25, 2017
in Campus News
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the message below to all KU faculty and staff today.
Raise the Chant
This past Friday, I joined Kansas Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger to announce Raise the Chant, a $350 million fundraising project focused on football. This visionary project addresses the reality that a competitive football program is important to our university and that our outdated facilities hinder our ability to compete with Big 12 Conference peers. Today I’d like to discuss this exciting effort and why it needs to be one of KU’s institutional priorities.
First and foremost, a competitive football program benefits the entire university. In terms of recruiting new students, football is often the front door for prospective Jayhawks, particularly given our increasingly national recruitment strategy. The truth is, a massive Jayhawk at the 50-yard-line on national TV can help keep KU at the top of mind for students we’re recruiting. Additionally, football keeps KU alumni connected to their alma mater – which often translates to donations and networking opportunities – and produces revenue through merchandising, which benefits the entire institution.
We need to remain a strong member of the Big 12, and football is key to that. Membership in a major conference has enormous benefits – including TV contract revenue, branding and prestige – that strengthen every aspect of KU’s mission. More broadly, being in a major conference is tied to our goal to continue being a strong member of the Association of American Universities.
In recent years, KU has transformed its campuses in a thoughtful, strategic way. Since 2009, we’ve completed $1 billion in construction for new and renovated facilities, including the Health Education Building, Capitol Federal Hall, Self and Oswald Halls, the Spencer Art Museum, Swarthout Recital Hall, and the Central District. At the same time, our Far Above campaign funded 735 new scholarships and fellowships and 53 new professorships. In other words, we’ve begun to modernize our campuses with a focus on our academic mission. We will continue our work in this area, and Memorial Stadium is an important part of the next phase of our transformation.
I want to reiterate my confidence in Sheahon and his vision. While we’ve had challenges in football, Kansas Athletics has had many successes – on and off the field – under Sheahon’s leadership. He’s a man of integrity, and he’s a Jayhawk to the core. Moreover, I share his belief that Coach Beaty has us headed in the right direction. Put simply, I believe we have the right people for the right time. Our focus now is getting these people the right tools to succeed.
I’ve been a Jayhawk for 23 years, and the passion of our friends and donors never ceases to amaze me. I am excited to work with them – and with you! – to advance this transformational project on behalf of our university.
Posted on Jul 6, 2017
Fans who cannot make the trip to Italy with the Kansas men’s basketball team in early August will nonetheless have the opportunity to watch the Jayhawks play.
KU will play four games while touring Italy, and the Jayhawk IMG Radio Network will broadcast the games. FloSports will pair Brian Hanni and Greg Gurley’s radio call with a video stream so KU fans can also watch the games live only on FloHoops.com.
To access the live video coverage and replays of the games, users must sign up to become FloPRO subscribers on FloHoops.com. Monthly and annual FloPRO subscriptions on FloHoops are $29.99 and $150, respectively. Members get access to all live events and replays, upcoming original documentary content, technique videos and more. Yearly subscribers also gain access to premium content across the FloSports network of sites. Fans can go here to subscribe to the Kansas 2017 Summer Tour – Italy.
The first two contests are in Rome, August 2 and 3; the final two are in Milan, August 5 and 6. The matchups in Rome will tip at 6:30 p.m. local, 11:30 a.m. Central time; the two games in Milan will start at 7 p.m. local, noon Central.
In Rome the Jayhawks will play Stella Azzurra, a team consisting of 18 and 19 year olds from Rome clubs, on August 2 at Honey Sports City (HSC). The following day, KU will face the Players Group, which consists of a team being organized by Vittorio Gallinari, father of NBA player Danilo Gallinari. The venue for the Aug. 3 game has yet to be determined.
On August 5 in Milan, the Jayhawks face the Players Group for the second time at PalaSport Enrico Somaschini (PalaPorada) and Italy All Star A2 the following day in the same location. The Italy All Star A2 squad will consist of players from the Lega Basket Serie (LBA) professional men’s basketball league from the A2 level. Basketball Travelers Inc. is coordinating the trip and tickets can be purchased day of game at the competition venue at a price of 5 euro.
In Rome, KU’s sightseeing tours will include the Colosseum, the Vatican Museum, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. In Milan, the contingent will tour the Cathedral Duomo and take a boat tour of Lake Como.
Preseason top 10, Kansas returns two starters and six letterwinners from last season’s 31-5 team (16-2 Big 12) that tied an NCAA record by winning KU’s 13th-consecutive conference regular-season title. KU entered the NCAA Tournament a No. 1 seed for the second consecutive year and advanced to the Elite Eight. Senior guards Devonté Graham and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk are the returning starters; junior guard Lagerald Vick, a regular on last season’s team, also returns. Sophomore center Udoka Azubuike started six of his 11 games played before being injured last season, and sophomore forward Mitch Lightfoot could also increase his playing time in 2017-18.
KU welcomes nine newcomers to the team with two – sophomore guards Malik Newman and Sam Cunliffe – having already been on campus. Newman transferred to KU from Mississippi State following the 2016-17 season. Cunliffe hit the KU campus following the fall 2016 semester after transferring from Arizona State. Newman will be eligible immediately, while Cunliffe can play in regular-season games after the fall 2017 semester; Cunliffe will play for the Jayhawks in Italy. Freshmen Billy Preston, a McDonald’s All-America, and guard Marcus Garrett, the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year, will provide immediate depth for the upcoming season.
Three other Jayhawk transfers will compete in Italy but will sit the KU sidelines in 2017-18. They are California guard Charlie Moore, and Memphis guard/forward brothers Dedric and K.J. Lawson. All had solid seasons in 2016-17 before coming to KU.
Since 2004 Kansas has won 17 of 19 exhibition games outside the United States under head coach Bill Self. The Jayhawks went a combined 7-0 in Canada in 2004 (4-0) and 2008 (3-0). In 2012 KU went 2-2 while touring Switzerland and Paris. KU’s most recent trip was in 2015, when the Jayhawks won the gold medal at the World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea, posting an 8-0 record.
KUAthletics.com is the official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.
Posted on May 22, 2017
in Alumni News
Frank Mason III got a warm welcome last weekend from family, friends and fans in his hometown of Petersburg, Virginia, during a series of festivities that celebrated the KU basketball star and national player of the year.
Petersburg Mayor Samuel Parham on Friday declared May 19 “Frank Leo Mason III Day” and issued a proclamation of Mason’s achievements before presenting him a key to the city. KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend, who discovered Mason in 2012 during a Las Vegas recruiting trip, and nearly 30 Richmond Jayhawks attended the celebration.
“Frank Mason III is beloved by fans for providing us four great years and helping our team reach the important 13-straight milestone,” says Kimberly Gulley Winn, l’95, g’03, executive director of Virginia Municipal League, who spoke at the event. “We were honored to be a part of the events highlighting the amazing career of this terrific young man, and we are looking forward to following his NBA career.”
On Saturday, locals packed William Lawson Gymnasium at Petersburg High School, where Mason attended and played, for an alumni basketball game. Mason’s No. 15 jersey was retired during a halftime ceremony.
“I just want to appreciate everybody that came out,” Mason, c’17, told the crowd. “I thank my family, friends, everybody that I love. Besides those people, I do it for Petersburg.”
Later that day, Mason threw out the first pitch at a Flying Squirrels minor-league baseball game in Richmond, Virginia.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Smartt