“What a great day to be a Jayhawk!” coach David Beaty shouted, his raspy voice barely audible amid the chaos that swarmed across Memorial Stadium’s field after KU upset Texas, 24-21, in an overtime thriller that gave Beaty his first Big 12 victory and the Jayhawks’ first in the conference since 2014.
Beaty of course was spot-on with the sentiment, but the time element was off. While football’s first victory over Texas since 1938 scored the national headlines, it was more than a great day to be a Jayhawk: From Sunday to Sunday, it was a week for the athletics ages.
Soccer sets the tone
Soccer set the tone on Sunday, Nov. 13, at Rock Chalk Park, when junior Lois Heuchan scored 40 seconds into double overtime to give the Jayhawks a 1-0 victory over Missouri in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. (The Jayhawks’ second-round loss, 2-0 Nov. 18 at North Carolina, was only their third loss since mid-September.)
Men’s basketball was up next, as the Jayhawks avoided their first 0-2 start since 1972 by beating top-ranked Duke, 77-75, Tuesday in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Frank Mason’s game-winning field goal with 1.8 seconds remaining was one of KU’s most thrilling shots since Mario Chalmers nailed a three-pointer to send the 2008 national championship game into overtime.
“That was quite a play we called: ‘Just get out of his way,’” coach Bill Self said afterward. “He’s a stud.”
Recruit chooses Kansas
Billy Preston, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward from Los Angeles kept the buzz going Friday afternoon when he released a video announcing his college selection. Dressed in uniforms from his four finalists—KU, Indiana, USC and Syracuse—Preston played a magic-of-film one-on-one game against himself, at the end of which he turns to the camera and announces, “Rock Chalk, Jayhawks.”
Just a few hours later, Preston’s future team beat Siena, 86-65, running Self’s home record to 207-9 and passing Ted Owens on the list of all-time victories in Allen Field House.
“He’s a special coach and this is a special place,” sophomore forward Carlton Bragg Jr. said afterward. “You put those two things together and special things happen.”
Volleyball clinches championship
About 13 hours later, at 11 a.m. Saturday morning, volleyball began its final regular-season home match. Although they played without junior All-American Kelsie Payne, who injured an ankle in KU’s five-set victory Nov. 16 at West Virginia, the Jayhawks fought through another tough five-setter to defeat Iowa State and clinch at least a share of their first Big 12 championship.
“It could have been a disaster, or it could have been the best day ever, and they decided to make it the best day ever,” said coach Ray Bechard. “Our seniors weren’t going to let us lose.”
Swimmer hits career-best mark
Saturday’s action was not limited to Lawrence: freshman Jenny Nusbaum won the 200-yard freestyle at the Kansas Classic swim meet in Topeka’s Capitol Federal Natatorium with a career-best mark of 1 minute, 48.97 seconds, and she helped her team to a 7.34-second victory in the 800-yard freestyle relay.
Cross-country makes history
On a wintry morning in Terre Haute, Indiana, sophomore Sharon Lokedi ran fifth at the NCAA cross-country championships, the best NCAA finish in the history of KU women’s cross-country and the best by any Jayhawk since John Lawson won the men’s meet in 1965.
“When it’s cold and windy like it was today, you never know what might happen in a race like this,” Lokedi said. “So my plan was just to stay up at the front, stay with the leaders and be ready for anything.”
Football upsets Texas
On a chilly afternoon and evening in Memorial Stadium, the football ’Hawks offered the first hint of a possible upset by taking a 10-7 lead into halftime against Texas. But, KU came out flat in the third quarter, and when D’Onta Foreman scored his second touchdown of the second half with 13:34 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Longhorns a 21-10 lead.
The game looked hopelessly out of reach to fans and commentators, but players never saw it that way.
“They are some resilient tough dudes,” Beaty said. “They kept believing. They kept working.”
With 10 minutes remaining in regulation, redshirt freshman quarterback Carter Stanley jolted the KU offense to life with a 20-yard run, which was immediately followed by a 15-yard run by freshman running back Khalil Herbert that set the Jayhawks up at the Texas 45 yard line. Herbert scored seven plays later on a 1-yard run, and sophomore receiver Steven Sims Jr. converted a two-point conversion to push KU to within three, 21-18, with 7:48 remaining.
Freshman safety Mike Lee halted a Texas scoring threat on the ensuing drive when he forced Foreman to fumble at the KU 13-yard-line. Senior defensive end Cameron Rosser pounced on the loose ball, the Longhorns’ fifth turnover of the game. KU then gave the ball back on downs, but when Texas tried to close the game out by converting on fourth and 5 from the KU 32, sophomore linebacker Keith Loneker Jr. scored the biggest of his game-high 16 tackles by stopping Foreman 2 yards short.
The Jayhawks took over on their own 29 with 58 seconds remaining. Three receptions by senior running back Ke’aun Kinner and a 15-yard penalty against Texas set KU up at the Longhorns’ 19, where, with seven seconds left in regulation, senior Matthew Wyman tied the game with a 36-yard field goal.
On the second play of overtime Lee again stepped up big, intercepting a Texas pass. Needing only a field goal to win, KU pushed forward behind five Kinner rushes, allowing Wyman to win the game with a 25-yard field goal.
The season finale awaits Saturday at Kansas State, but that rivalry’s renewal was on nobody’s mind as the Jayhawks celebrated madly.
Well, almost nobody’s.
“We have a huge, huge mountain to climb to get ready to play those guys,” Beaty said. “But it’s going to be a lot easier and a lot more fun preparing tomorrow with the result we got today.”
Women’s basketball team closes week with a win
And still more was yet to come: Women’s basketball closed out the remarkable week that was with a 68-58 victory at Memphis, the Jayhawks’ first win of the season and the first regular-season road victory for second-year coach Brandon Schneider.
Jayhawks of all ages turned out in force Aug. 21 for the annual KU Kickoff at Corinth Square in Prairie Village, hosted by the Alumni Association and Kansas Athletics. Taking advantage of a cool August night, KU families filled the shopping center’s parking lot to share Jayhawk spirit and enjoy performances by the KU Band and Spirit Squad, a fun zone and face painting for the children, and rousing remarks from KU leaders.
Heath Peterson, interim president of the Alumni Association, welcomed the crowd to the annual finale of the ’Hawk Days of Summer and the start of a new school year and football season. “We are ready for a fun fall, and there is no better way to kick it off than in the heart of Jayhawk Country,” said Peterson, c’04, g’09. He thanked alumni and friends for their loyalty as Association members and volunteers.
Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger, PhD’96, encouraged alumni to visit the new DeBruce Center, which will house James Naismith’s Rules of Basketball and host numerous student activities. He praised new football coach David Beaty and new women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider as “blue-collar, roll-up-your sleeves Kansas guys who speak from the heart.”
Schneider said he had “never been around a university and an athletics department that approach every day with more pride and more passion than we do at the University of Kansas.”
Beaty praised the energy of his young football team, which opens the season Sept. 5 against South Dakota State, and he urged alumni and friends to pack Memorial Stadium. “You are the magic,” he said. “We need that stadium loaded and rockin’.”
Following the Alma Mater and Rock Chalk Chant, the event continued to rock, thanks to a performance by the Lawrence band Coversmith.
KU students walking down Jayhawk Boulevard between classes today were in for a special treat: the opportunity to take on head football coach David Beaty in pop-a-shot. The new head football coach spent an hour and a half this morning meeting students and challenging them to games on the lawn of Watson Library.
Watch our slideshow below for pictures from the event:
Paige Geiger, c’95, PhD, is an associate professor in the department of molecular and integrative physiology at the KU School of Medicine. She’s also a proud KU alumna, wife and mom who somehow succeeds in balancing it all. In fact, she was honored as one of the 2013-14 KU Women of Distinction by the Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center. Her personal blog, titled “Speed Bump,” is often dedicated to this delicate balancing act involving “two careers, two kids, too little time in a day.” We asked to share one of Paige’s recent posts with alumni, in which she reveals her “best kept secret for family fun,” excerpted below with the author’s permission. Enjoy!
Earlier this year we took the kids to their first KU basketball game at Allen Field House. It was a men’s game and it was really loud, a packed house, and very intense. Not exactly the best environment for small children that can’t sit still and have a short attention span. But last week we took the kids to a KU women’s basketball game and it was the most family fun we’ve had all winter.
There are no crowds at the women’s games and you can wander through all the old Jayhawk memorabilia and the KU Athletics Hall of Fame at a slow pace. There are some interactive displays where Charlie measured his vertical jump and checked his wing span against Wilt Chamberlain’s. We compared the size of Izzy’s red boots to the giant basketball shoes behind this glass display.
We went to the game because I was introduced during the pre-game ceremony as part of this year’s KU Women of Distinction – a cool bonus. But my part in the evening paled in comparison to the rest of the fun.
The best part about going to a women’s game is that the seats are all general admission and you can sit anywhere. We sat right behind the team bench and I felt like we were in the game. And did I mention how inexpensive it is to go to a women’s game? If you have to leave at half-time or miss half of the game because you are going back and forth to the bathroom with two little ones, it isn’t a big deal. And parking? Not a problem. We parked directly across from the field house – thankfully – on a very cold evening.
There weren’t many people sitting around us and the kids could squirm and stand up to their hearts’ delight. They had popcorn and hotdogs. They cheered loudly and danced to the band. I wish we could have stayed longer, but it was a week night and pretty late for the kids. A weekend game would be perfect, and I hope we can make it back.
Charlie and Izzy had the Allen Field House experience, but in a low key and kid-friendly way. They got the VIP treatment from the cheerleaders and the Jayhawks, and we had the added bonus of sitting a couple feet away from some of the men’s players. There are still games left in this season – get over to AFH and have some fun. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!
– Paige Geiger
Going to the KU women’s basketball game tonight? Buy one ticket and get the second ticket free when you use the promo code BIG12 (the code is valid for the final home game on Saturday, also). That’s two tickets for just $8! Children four and under are free. There’s a Family Fun Zone that opens at 5:30 p.m. in the northeast corner of Level 1, with poster making activities, basketball toss, face tattoos and more. Click here to purchase tickets, which can be printed at home or picked up at will call. See you at the game!
So who’s up for a trip to the Caribbean? Better yet, with a chance to root on the Jayhawks? Then you’d better book your tickets, because after back-to-back Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament appearances, KU women’s basketball launches the 2013-’14 season at the Ezybonds Global Payments U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam, where the Jayhawks will face Central Michigan, Xavier and Duke–all NCAA Tournament teams–from Nov. 28-30.
“This is a terrific trip for our players and fans,” says coach Bonnie Henrickson. “It will be a great trip and a chance for a young team to grow and prepare for Big 12 Conference play.” For more information about the 2013 Paradise Jam, visit www.ParadiseJam.com.
It’s been a thrilling basketball season for KU alumni, students and fans. And while the men’s team suffered a heartbreaking loss to Michigan in the Sweet 16, it became the first team to win 30+ games in four consecutive seasons en route to a 9th consecutive Big 12 championship in 2013. Throw in a conference tournament championship and the program’s 10th NCAA Tournament no. 1 seed, and this was a season for Jayhawk fans to savor and remember. The KU women’s basketball team basked in the glow of its second-straight Sweet 16 appearance before falling to no. 1-seeded Notre Dame.
KU alumni and students always remain ready to rally around the Jayhawks, win or lose, so with that we wanted to share this video sent to us by a group of loyal KU students just before KU tipped off against Michigan. Their heartfelt (and humorous) love for the Jayhawks is just what we needed, with one clear message, albeit bittersweet: Thank you.
Students, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
For KU alumni, tournament time is a time to educate friends and co-workers about our hoops heritage and institutional excellence, so we thought we’d share a handful of bragging rights, let’s call them “talking points” that might come in handy at the water cooler. For example: Did you know that the KU men’s and women’s basketball teams are both in the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row— an achievement no other school can claim?
Enjoy the following claims to fame, and feel free to share them! As an added bonus, these tidbits are tweet-worthy too!
The KU men’s basketball team earned its 30th trip to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
The KU women are only the second no. 12 seed ever to advance to the Sweet 16.
KU has 10 graduate programs ranked in the top 10 among public universities, and 32 among the top 40.
KU has won more Big 12 championships 9 than all other Big 12 schools combined.
KU is home to the nation’s largest, most comprehensive university biodiversity research and education center.
KU Head Coach Bill Self has more Big 12 titles (9) than career home losses (8) at KU.
The KU men’s team has the longest active streak of consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances (24).
KU is one of four schools to be a no. 1 seed ten or more times (Kansas, North Carolina, Kentucky, Duke).
The KU men’s team has been a no. 1 seed four of the last five seasons.
The KU Alumni Association keeps records for more than 300,000 alumni and friends of KU.
Membership in the KU Alumni Association is the best way to strengthen all of KU. Join us!
Did you see how we slipped that last one in there? Share these fun facts with your family, friends and coworkers, and tell the world that you’re proud to be a Jayhawk!
Alumni are getting together all across the country to cheer on the Jayhawks, like Kellie Johnson, a’06, and T.G. Watkins, f’02, did at Cornerstone Tavern in New York City on Sunday. You can follow the games with fellow Jayhawks by finding a KU Alumni watch site in your area. Meantime, check out the video below, also shot at Cornerstone Tavern, and these 40+ Facebook photos alumni shared with us over the weekend, and see if you can find your friends (or a few famous faces!). Don’t forget to “LIKE” the KU Alumni Association while you’re there!
The KU women’s basketball team tips off their first game of the NCAA Tournament against Colorado tonight in Boulder at 5:30 p.m. CT. The Jayhawks feature two of best players in country in seniors Angel Goodrich and Carolyn Davis, both 1,000 point career scorers for KU.
The creative geniuses at KU Athletics have put together an awesome site dedicated to the dynamic duo called KUstart2finish.com, in recognition of the fact that great plays tend to start with Goodrich and finish with Davis. The potent combination has led KU to 18 victories this season and their second-straight NCAA tournament appearance. Learn more about this terrific twosome at KUstart2finish.com and check out the video below. Get ready for another great postseason run from the Jayhawks!