Wichita State Shockers

Longtime Wichita State athletics employee dies after two-year cancer battle

Larry Rankin worked in the Wichita State athletic department for more than 25 years in media relations. He died at the age of 51 on August 9 after a two-year battle with esophageal cancer.
Larry Rankin worked in the Wichita State athletic department for more than 25 years in media relations. He died at the age of 51 on August 9 after a two-year battle with esophageal cancer. Courtesy

Longtime Wichita State athletic department employee Larry Rankin died Aug. 9 after a two-year battle with esophageal cancer.

Rankin, 51, worked in media relations at WSU for more than 25 years, publicizing some of the Shockers’ most successful teams, including the 1996 baseball team that made it to the College World Series and the 2013 men’s basketball team that reached the NCAA Final Four.

He is survived by his wife, Denise, and their three children, Garrett, 23, Bailey, 19, and Wyatt, 11. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday at Resthaven Mortuary, where a 10 a.m. Thursday funeral service will be held. A GoFundMe has been set up to help ease the financial burden of the family.

“We are saddened to learn today of the passing of Larry Rankin,” WSU athletic director Darron Boatright said in a statement. “Larry served as assistant AD of media relations for over 25 years and amassed friends and relationships all across the country, while representing Shocker Athletics. Our thoughts are with Denise, Garrett, Bailey and Wyatt as they remain an integral part of the Shocker Athletics family.”

Rankin joined the WSU staff as an assistant sports information director in September 1992 and worked in media relations for more than 25 years. The Stillwater, Oklahoma native graduated from Oklahoma State and became sports information director at WSU in 1994. He was promoted to assistant athletic director in 1998.

In October 2017, Rankin was awarded the Missouri Valley Conference’s Most Courageous Award, which is given to a person who demonstrates unusual courage in the face of personal illness, adversity or tragedy and whose behavior reflects honor on the conference.

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