Please understand that Joshua Samuel Wills is in no way affiliated with the Wichita State athletic department, and his plans to start a club football team should in no way be considered the first step toward membership in the Big 12.
Having said that, Wills is doing something about football at Wichita State. His idea started as a plan to compete in the Shocker Business Plan Competition for the university’s Center for Entrepreneurship.
“I believe in starting stuff,” Wills said.
Wills didn’t enter the competition. Instead, he is trying to start a club team, under the direction of the Heskett Center. He is looking for a coach, most likely targeting the fall of 2013 for games. He would like to get a former Shocker football player to coach, and plans to mine junior colleges for players. He doesn’t plan to play at Cessna Stadium.
Wills, a freshman from El Dorado, played a little football before a back injury sidelined him. He found it frustrating that WSU didn’t have a team (the athletic department’s version ended in 1986). When he talked about football, he found people wary because they believed reviving the sport would raise student fees, or come at the expense of existing sports.
“I took a different approach,” he said. “This is a business model. We’re not going to raise student fees. We’re not going to impact other sports.”
Like other club sports, such as crew, Wills’ football team would rely on minimal university funding and fund-raising. WSU could play in the Midwestern Club Football Conference, a group that includes teams from Ohio State, Wright State, Xavier, Marquette and others. There are no paid positions — not even coach — but that could change. Once he finds a coach, and that coach finds players, he can worry about a place to practice and play games.
“There is room for pay, if we do well,” he said.
WSU athletic director Eric Sexton is fine with club football, as long as people understand it isn’t affiliated with the athletic department. He talked with Wills, and told him using the Heskett Center’s resources could be helpful.
“We’re starting small,” Wills said. “Perhaps it will grow into something more. First, we have to get players and coaches.”
Wills is holding an information sesssion at 6 p.m. May 30 at the Heskett Center. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.
He gets a look — Toure Murry is getting a chance to impress NBA teams.
He worked out for the Los Angeles Lakers at their practice facility last week in El Segundo, Calif. On Tuesday, he goes to his hometown of Houston to go on display for the Rockets.
Murry, a 6-foot-4 guard, said Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchack watched his workout.
“Just playing in front of him is real exciting,” Murry said. “I had a great workout and they said they were very interested.”
The Lakers tested his jumping ability and speed. They weighed and measured him. He did drills with other players, including former Alabama player Tony Mitchell. The group scrimmaged briefly.
Schedule stuff — Sexton said the men’s basketball schedule is one game from completion.
WSU will start a two-game men’s basketball series with Tennessee in 2012-13. The Volunteers are coached by Cuonzo Martin, who is familiar with the Shockers from his three seasons at Missouri State.
The series starts in Knoxville with a return game in Wichita the next season.
• WSU ranked No. 38 nationally in attendance with an average of 10,391 fans. That ranks second in the Missouri Valley Conference behind No. 6 Creighton (16,665).
The MVC ranked eighth among the 32 conference, with an average of 7,064 fans at the 10 schools. Creighton increased attendance by 3,157 fans a game, largest bump in the nation.
Shocker all the way — Andale senior center fielder Daniel Kihle grew up a Shocker fan. One of his fondest memories is watching Derek Schermerhorn drive in the winning run in the ninth inning of a 2007 regional game against Arizona.
“I loved watching him play,” Kihle said.
So when it came time to pick a college, Kihle didn’t need to think hard. WSU offered him a guaranteed roster spot as a walk-on and he is on board. He was also recruited by several junior colleges, and talked with Kansas State, Missouri State and Missouri.
“Every kid around here has always wanted to go there,” he said. “I’ve always looked up to those guys.”
Kihle (6-foot, 185 pounds) hit .424 with seven triples and six doubles in Andale’s first 20 games. He scored 26 runs and drove in 25, helping to produce 51 of Andale’s 129 runs.
“Danny is a leader,” Andale coach Andy Kaiser said. “What sets him apart is his ability to not give into distractions. He sets a high standard for himself.”
Kihle considers himself a speedy runner who hits for contact and steals bases. He was co-MVP of the AV-CTL as a junior and a first-team pick as a sophomore. He plays summer baseball for former Shocker outfielder Kenny Waddell with the Rawlings Prospects.
Worth noting — The Al Littleton Memorial Golf Tournament will be held June 9 at Braeburn Golf Course. Proceeds go to the Cancer Center of Kansas in memory of the former Shocker golf coach. For information call 316-640-2540 .… WSU’s boys basketball camps begin June 4. For information call 316-978-3252 .