It’s easy to see why Kansas State hangs an oversized, commemorative Chuckie Williams jersey from the ceiling inside Bramlage Coliseum.
The former star guard was a shooting sensation, making 47 percent of his shots and averaging 16.2 points during a successful career from 1972-76. As a junior, his scoring sky-rocketed to 22.1 points per game and he led the Wildcats to the Elite Eight. The following season, he guided them to the NIT while averaging 20.9 points. K-State also made it to the Elite Eight as a freshman.
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His 47 points against Holy Cross broke the program’s single-game scoring record and stood for nearly two decades until Askia Jones scored 62 against Fresno State. The Cleveland Cavaliers selected in the first round of the 1976 NBA Draft.
Add it all up, and it’s also easy to see why he will be inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame this weekend.
“What an honor,” Williams said by phone. “Look at the people I am surrounded by. They are all legendary people. I am so honored and humbled to be part of that family.”
Williams hasn’t played competitive basketball for years and currently lives in Greeley, Colo. working as a mortgage broker. But he still thinks about the game he loves and follows K-State basketball when he can.
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, he didn’t consider attending K-State until then assistant Bob Gottlieb convinced him to visit Manhattan and meet with coach Jack Hartman. Williams credits Hartman for teaching him how to reach his potential as a basketball player, but he cites K-State fans as the reason he loved his college experience.
“I figured you could a good education at any major institution, but there was more than that in Manhattan,” Williams said. “The warmth, the excitement and the acceptance of the people is what impressed me more than anything. Universities try to sell you on something that closes the deal and that was it for me. If I had to do it all over again I would make the same choice.”
Williams wasn’t as successful in the NBA, lasting just one year. But he stayed in professional as an assistant coach.
Looking back, it’s hard for Williams to pinpoint the top moment of his career at K-State. There were too many.
“You always have to put things like the rivalry with Kansas right up there at the top,” Williams said. “My two opportunities to go to Elite Eights and being a conference champion were definitely highlights. There are so many great memories.”
2014 Kansas Sports Hall of Fame inductees
Features on the 2014 class: