Jayhawk couple finds love at Final Four

Posted on Feb 14, 2018 in Alumni News and News

The 2008 National Championship was memorable for every Jayhawk, but Callie Penzler-Randall may have had the best weekend of anyone. We asked Callie, d’08, g’13, to share the story of how she met her future husband, Jess Randall, c’07, m’12, in San Antonio.

Callie Penzler-Randall and Jess Randall

Championship weekend

I’m a fourth-generation Jayhawk and always knew I would go to KU. I have been going to KU basketball games since I was about 6 months old. My parents had made a deal with my sister, Clarice, and me: If KU went to the Final Four while we were going to school there, we would all go.

In 2008, I was finishing up my senior year, studying elementary education. My sister was on the Rock Chalk Dance Team and would be traveling with the team to the Final Four. True to their word, my parents took me to San Antonio. We had fun mingling with the fans from the other three teams (UNC, Memphis, and UCLA). The Memphis fans were, by far, the most fun and friendly.

We watched in awe as the Jayhawks crushed Roy’s Tar Heels. The Memphis game wasn’t nearly as comfortable. I could hardly watch those last few minutes of regulation but knew we had it won once we took it to overtime. It was awesome to see my sister run onto the court with the team after the win. We celebrated on the Riverwalk for a bit, but that part is all a blur now. The entire weekend was a blast!

So, the meet cute.

It was the day between the North Carolina stomping and the National Championship game. We knew the Riverwalk would be a total madhouse, so we headed to a Mexican restaurant off the beaten path for dinner. We had just been seated when I saw a group of KU guys walking by on their way out. I noticed one was wearing a fantastic shirt: it had an outline of the state of Kansas with the iconic image of John Brown in the middle. Brown was holding an NCAA trophy instead of the Bible. Around the image of Brown, it said “Kansas: keeping America safe from Missouri since 1854.”

I knew I had to find that shirt, so I pulled the guy aside to ask him where he had gotten it. To my surprise, Jess squatted down between my mom and me to have a chat. His voice was nearly gone because he had screamed so much during the UNC game the night before. In his raspy voice, he told me a friend of his had designed and printed the shirts, but he could try to get one for me if I gave him my phone number. I said I would love that, and he said he’d be sure to give me a call—IF he could also take me out to dinner. I think every jaw at the table fell to the floor. It was a match made in Jayhawk heaven.

Callie Penzler-Randall and Jess Randall

A legacy continues

We were married in June, 2012, about two weeks after we both graduated from KU a second time. Baby Jay made an appearance at our wedding. Jess graduated from the School of Medicine and I completed my master’s of education in literacy instruction. We live in Iowa City and have a 3-year-old, Phoebe, and an 18-month-old, Ben. Ben’s middle name is Lawrence; we considered Forrest as well. Jess is in his second year of a pediatric cardiology fellowship at the University of Iowa and we proudly drive around Hawkeye land with Jayhawk stickers on the backs of our cars. Phoebe calls all the Hawkeye statues in Iowa City “Jayhawks,” and we don’t correct her.

Tags: , , , ,