Photos and biographies for Kansas' 150 greatest athletes: 51-100
06/04/2014 6:01 PM
08/05/2014 7:19 PM
Here is the second group of Kansas' greatest athletes selected by The Eagle, 51 through 100, in alphabetical order:
The first group, 101 through 150, appeared July 24. Kansas' top 50 athletes will be revealed Aug. 7.
Horse racing, Iola, 1914-1995
Two years after leaving Iola, Adams won a national-best 260 times in 1937. He also was the U.S. leader in victories in 1942 (245 wins) and 1943 (228). By 1955, Adams became the third American jockey to win 3,000 times, including the 1954 Preakness. He’s in the Horse Racing Hall of Fame.
Track and field, Leonardville, 1953-
Anderson set the American 800 record as a K-State freshman in 1972 and later held the 5,000 world record and won four events in leading the Wildcats to the 1976 Big Eight title.
Baseball, Circleville, 1892-1961
Barnes was a dependable pitcher for the New York Giants and manager John McGraw, going 152-150 with a 3.22 ERA. He won an NL -best 25 games in 1919 and followed with 20 wins in 1920, then won two games in the ’21 World Series.
Basketball, Medicine Lodge, 1931-
Born scored 111 points in the 1950 state tournament, then helped KU to the 1952 national title. In ’53, he was an All-American and the first player from a non-championship team to win Most Outstanding Player honors in the NCAAs.
Football, Dodge City, 1908-1997
Burnett was two-time all-conference in two sports at Emporia State, then he played 11 years for the New York Giants as a receiver, blocking back, defensive back and punter. The Giants won two NFL titles in those years, and Burnett’s interception sealed the ’38 crown.
Football, Wichita, 1952-
An All-State rusher from North, Calhoun left K-State as its No. 4 rushing leader before playing nine NFL seasons. He gained 3,559 yards in his career and never missed a game because of injury.
Softball, Topeka, 1978-
She was 48-3 as a pitcher for Washburn Rural, but made her mark as a collegiate hitter at Oklahoma, hitting .405 as a junior and .400 as a senior. She led OU to the 2000 national title and back to the WCWS in ’01.
Football, Chase, 1956-
Coffman was a reliable tight end for K-State, but went undrafted. A tryout with Green Bay, however, led to a productive NFL career. Coffman caught 339 passes (42 touchdowns) in an 11-year career with the Packers, Chiefs and Vikings. He was named to three Pro Bowl teams as a Packer and is in the team’s Hall of Fame.
Golf, Roeland Park, 1941-
Colbert won eight PGA Tour titles in 17 years, then became more prominent on the Champions Tour. His 20 victories on that circuit is tied for eighth most. At K-State, he was second in the 1964 NCAAs.
Baseball, Arkansas City, 1962-
A multi-sport star at Ark City, Daulton chose baseball and was a 14-year major-league catcher, all but one with Philadelphia. He had two 20-homer, 100-RBI seasons and finished his career on the 1997 Marlins World Series championship club.
Basketball, Highland, 1963-
Davis left Class 1A Highland as an Eagle All-State player in 1981, crossing the state line to become Missouri’s greatest women’s player. She led four MU teams to the NCAAs and tallied a school-best 2,126 points. She was Big Eight Player of the Year in ’84 and ’85 and a three-time Big Eight tourney MVP.
Baseball, Leavenworth, 1916-1989
Second among innings pitched (3,052 1/3) among all major-league Kansans, Dickson was part of three World Champions and won 172 games (third). He was called “The Thomas Edison of the Mound” by St. Louis manager Eddie Dyer because of the number of pitches in his arsenal
Wrestling, Topeka, 1963-
A three-time state champ at Highland Park (1979-81) who won two NCAA titles at Oklahoma. He reached the U.S. national team 11 times and was a seven-time senior freestyle champion, and qualified for two Olympics (1996, 2000).
Basketball, Kansas City, 1958-
The Wyandotte All-Stater (1976) and state champ was a four-year starter at Missouri, then was the 17th pick in the 1980 NBA Draft by Detroit. He played 10 seasons with the Pistons, Kings, Clippers and Lakers and is now coach of the Atlanta Hawks.
Basketball, Arkansas City, 1919-2011
Engleman was the Jayhawks’ second All-American and his basket lifted KU past Southern California in the 1940 national semifinals. Indiana beat KU in the final. Engleman was a three-time KU scoring leader and two-time All-Big Six selection.
Basketball, Wichita, 1978-
He led Collegiate to a pair of state championships and an 81-16 record, named All-State twice. He played two years at WSU, averaging 22.6 points as a sophomore before transferring to Texas, where he played one season (15.6 points). He went undrafted, but has played eight NBA seasons with the Timberwolves, Kings, Pistons, Lakers, Magic, Hawks and Wizards (6.7 points, 2.5 rebounds).
Swimming, Roeland Park, 1977-
Fox swam for the KC Blazers club team instead of her high school team at Bishop Miege, then became a stunning 21-time All-American at Stanford. She medaled in individual events at Pan Pacific and Pan American meets, then was a part of gold-winning teams in the 400 medley and 400 freestyle relays at the 1996 Olympics.
Bowling, Kansas City, 1961-
Goebel dominated leagues in Lawrence as he attended KU, then turned pro at age 20 in 1981. He bowled in regional events until his power stroke really took off in the ’90s, when he won 10 PBA Tour events and cashed in 231 tour events. He had 47 PBA 300s and 25 sanctioned 800 series in his career.
Football, Oberlin, 1916-1969
A two-time All-Big Six fullback and three-time Big Six heavyweight wrestling champ at K-State who was even better in track, winning the NCAA shot put title twice. Hackney, nicknamed the “One Man Gang” because of his size and speed, played seven NFL seasons.
Basketball, McPherson, 1968-
A two-time All-State hoops player as well as a state-champion high jumper and javelin thrower, Henson was one of the state’s premier athletes of the 1980s. He was two-time All-Big Eight for K-State’s basketball team and is the only Cat to appear in four NCAA Tournaments. Was twice a top-three finisher in the Big Eight decathlon.
Basketball, Beloit, 1930-
Hougland, Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing are the only men who own an NCAA basketball championship and two Olympic basketball gold medals. Hougland won with KU in ’52, then won in the ’52 and ’56 Olympics.
Basketball, Wamego, 1931-
The 6-foot-6 center was two-time All-Big Seven at K-State and was a third- and first-team All-American during his career (1950-53). The Cats, 61-13 with Knostman, lost in the ’51 championship game.
Football, Overland Park, 1956-1999
An All-State quarterback at SM South, Little signed with Arkansas and became an All-America kicker. He kicked a record-tying 67-yarder in 1977. He was paralyzed by a car accident in 1980 and died in 1999 at age 43.
Football, McDonald, 1898-1972
Lyman played at McDonald High near Bird City in northwest Kansas, then became a Nebraska standout in 1918. He was an NFL defensive lineman from 1922-34, achieving stardom with the Chicago Bears beginning in ’25. He was inducted into the Pro Football HOF in 1964.
Football, Wichita, 1939-
At North High, McClinton was an All-America end, played on a state-title basketball team and won a state high hurdles title. He was a three-time all-conference back at KU, then signed with the Dallas Texans and was a Texan/Chief for nine seasons. He was a three-time AFL all-star and part of the Chiefs' Super Bowl championship.
Football, Arkansas City, 1923-2009
Mitchell was a three-sport standout at Ark City, then after a year at Texas and World War II service, was an All-America quarterback and punt returner for OU. OU was 17-3 with Mitchell at QB before he became a successful coach at Wichita and Kansas.
Football, Wichita, 1948-
West was 18-0 with Mosier as a starter, and he was an All-State QB in 1965. He was KU’s Big Eight Newcomer of the Year at TE, later catching five passes for 77 yards in the 1969 Orange Bowl. He played three NFL seasons.
Football, Salina, 1978-
A two-time Big 12 100-meter champ, Newman was one of Bill Snyder's top defensive players at K-State. He was an All-American, Big 12 defensive player of the year and won the Thorpe Award as the best defensive back. He was the No. 5 draft pick by Dallas in 2003 and has been a starting DB since, making the Pro Bowl twice.
Football, Rozel, 1933-
Patterson was a starter on KU's 1953 national basketball runnerup, but football was his future. He was a CFL receiver from 1954-67, playing for Grey Cup champions three times and being inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame in 1971.
Baseball, Kansas City, 1944-
A contributor on the KU football and basketball teams, Renko rode his right arm to baseball's major leagues. His 15 seasons (Expos, Cubs, White Sox, A's, Red Sox, Angels, Royals) included a 134-146 record and 3.99 ERA.
Golf, Manhattan, 1963-
Richard was a two-time Kansas high school champ, a two-time Kansas Women’s Amateur champ and won the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1984. Her 20-year LPGA career included six victories and she was 24th on the career money list at her time of retirement.
Wrestling, Overland Park, 1980-
Roberson won all 153 of his high school matches at Blue Valley Northwest (1995-99), the second Kansas wrestler to go unbeaten but the first in Class 6A. Roberson was three-time All-America at Iowa State, finishing his career with the 2004 133-pound NCAA title.
Rodeo, Strong City, 1918-1975
A three-time champion bull rider who was a charter member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, Roberts won events from the 1930s to 1960s. He’s also in the Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Baseball, Kansas City, 1893-1967
Rogan compared favorably to Satchel Paige in the Negro Leagues, going 116-50 with a 2.59 ERA over 19 seasons. He played OF when not pitching and may have been as good a hitter. He was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1998.
Baseball, Kansas City, 1940-
Sadecki was a “bonus baby,” signed out of Ward High by St. Louis and forced by MLB rules to go straight to the major-league roster. But unlike many failed bonus babies, Sadecki had success over 18 big-league seasons. He was 135-131 with a 3.78 ERA. He was 20-11 in the Cards’ 1964 championship season, winning one of his two World Series starts.
Archie San Romani
Track and field, Frontenac, 1912-1994
A similar athlete to Glenn Cunningham (winning 14 of 28 head-to-head races) in that San Romani’s leg was crushed as an 8-year-old and wasn’t expected to walk again. He held the collegiate mile and 1,500 meters records while at Emporia State and finished fourth in the 1,500 at the 1936 Berlin Games.
Track and field, Ashland, 1932-2010
KU’s Santee was one of a trio of men in 1954 who raced to become the first to break the mile’s 4-minute barrier. Roger Bannister was first, but Santee still held four world records in distance events and at one point held three of the world’s top four mile times. AAU decisions kept him from running the mile in the ’52 and ’56 Olympics.
Football, Wichita, 1926-
A three-time state track champion at East, Sexton’s speed and toughness made him the greatest RB in Shocker football history. He was a three-time all-conference back who finished with 1,995 rushing yards, all while having to sleep and eat apart from teammates in some opposing cities because he was black.
Football, Paola, 1977-
An undersized All-State RB (and two-time state wrestling champ) who set the NCAA record (all divisions) with 6,958 rushing yards, 9,301 all-purpose yards, 88 touchdowns and 544 points. Won the 1998 Harlon Hill Trophy as Division II’s best player.
Basketball, Leavenworth, 1983-
Simien's All-America senior year at Leavenworth included a state championship, then was an All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year as a KU senior. KU won 110 games with Simien on the roster. He was on Miami's 2006 NBA championship roster but didn't appear in the Finals.
Football, Smith Center, 1977-
Simoneau roamed between the hash marks as well as any K-State linebacker. He concluded his career (1999) as an All-American, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and runnerup for the Butkus Award. He played 10 NFL seasons, including a Super Bowl XXXIX appearance with the Eagles.
Baseball, Wichita, 1928-
Spencer was a middle infielder who found some pop in his bat once he reached the majors. He played 10 seasons with the Giants, Cardinals, Dodgers and Reds (1952-63 with two years of military service) and belted 105 home runs. Spencer is credited with hitting the first home run in a West Coast major-league game (1958).
Football, Olathe, 1983-
Sproles was a two-time All-State player who led Olathe North to a state title, then was a three-year starter (2002-04) at K-State. He led K-State to the Big 12 title in ’03 and was fifth in Heisman voting in ’04. Sproles enters his first season with New Orleans after six seasons with San Diego and has 1,400 receiving yards and 1,154 rushing yards.
Track and field, Clay Center, 1948-
Swenson was as good as any middle-distance runner in the late ’60s and early ’70s. A three-time Big Eight champion in the 880 yards and 1970 NCAA champ, he also led a K-State relay team to two world records, an American record and two NCAA titles. He nipped Jim Ryun for a spot in the 1972 Olympic 800-meter race.
Football, Nicodemus, 1932-
A K-State halfback who also excelled defensively and returning punts, Switzer was a two-time second-team All-American and a senior first-teamer in 1953. He was three-time All-Big Seven and led the nation in punt returns (31-yard average) as a senior. Switzer, also a conference long jump champ, played five pro seasons, though they were interrupted by three years in the Air Force.
Baseball, Oskaloosa, 1875-1958
Nicknamed “Dummy” because he was a deaf-mute, Taylor overcome his obstacle to become part of a dominating New York Giants rotation in the 1900s. He was 117-103 with a career 2.75 ERA, and 72 of his wins came in his last five seasons. Taylor was known for his run-ins with umpires, yet worked as an amateur umpire himself for more than 20 years.
Margaret Thompson Murdock
Rifle, Topeka, 1942-
Murdock, a member of the Women’s International Sports Hall of Fame, was America’s top female rifle shooter and often bested men’s scores. She won seven World Championships, five Pan American Games, 28 U.S. championships and set 13 world records. She tied for the top score in the 1976 Olympics but fellow American Lanny Bassham was judged to have been slightly better. Bassham had Murdock join him on the winner’s stand for the national anthem.
Basketball, Winfield, 1922-1979
A two-time state basketball champ and a singles tennis champ, Tucker went south to Oklahoma and became a dominant collegiate center. He was an All-American before and after three years of World War II service. He was national player of the year when he led OU to the ’47 NCAA title game, scoring 22 points in a loss. Tucker later coached the 1956 gold medal team in the Melbourne Games.
Smoky Joe Wood
Baseball, Ness City, 1889-1985
With a fastball on par with Walter Johnson, Wood was 117-57 from 1908-17 with the Red Sox and Indians, including a 2.03 ERA. He won 16 straight games in 1912, 10 on shutouts, and was 34-5 that year. After an injury in 1916, he switched to outfielder for his final five years.
Football, Larned, 1947-
A two-time All-Big Eight DE (1967-68) and ’68 All-American at KU who played 11 NFL seasons with the Falcons and Cardinals, reaching the Pro Bowl in 1973.