It seemed fitting that the Greater Wichita Athletic League was inducted as an organization Saturday into the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame.
Yet, by the time league administrator J. Means could accept the enshrinement, four individuals with ties to the league already had been enshrined
— Rod Nuckolls (Bishop Carroll), John Matous (North), Lawrence Pete (South) and Carl Taylor (Southeast).
Pete, a 1984 graduate, said playing in the City League is special.
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“It means a great deal to be a part of history when you have the Darnell Valentines, the Barry Sanderses and all the other guys who have participated in the Wichita City League,” he said. “It is an honor, it really is. To know that was where your seed was nurtured and cultivated and come back is a great honor.”
Pete stressed the importance of family in his success in business terms. This was fitting, because he has been in banking for 17 years.
“Your family is your most appreciable asset,” he said. “They have covered me in love and support.”
His dream came true, he said, because of sacrifices made by his family, where he was one of 18 kids. He said his family sacrificed so he could have what he needed to compete. Football gave him a framework for life, Pete said, because skills cultivated on the field produced benefits after his playing career.
“What you learn in football translates to the game of life,” he said.
Nuckolls, co-owner of Willowbend Golf Club, said golf for him began in Wichita when he caddied for his father at McDonald Park. After Carroll, it was on to WSU, where he said he learned a lot from coach Al Littleton. He then spent five years on the PGA Tour.
“Now, I’m trying to teach a lot of things I learned to my students,” he said. “Wichita’s a great golfing community, not only for the courses, but for the affordability.”
Taylor closed his career as boys basketball coach at Southeast last season, but said he’s not quite done with basketball. He said the enshrinement surprised him.
“I still might do something with a college somewhere as an assistant,” he said.
Matous, honored for his quarterbacking career at Pittsburg State and coaching career at Hutchinson Community College, still retains the pride of being a North graduate.
“I climbed the tower,” he said.
The class of 2012 also included four others with ties to Wichita State: Nuckolls, Bob Hodgson, David Haas and Hank Schichtle. Also going in were stock-car driver Pinky Mullens, junior high basketball coach Gordon Long and baseball coach Paul Sanagorski. The 1964 NBC champion Service Auto Glass team was also enshrined, and Wichita Eagle sports columnist Bob Lutz received the Mal Elliott Sports Media Award.