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Baseball

Ralph Houk

  • Born: August 9, 1919
  • Died: July 21, 2010
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Lawrence

Achievement:

Ralph Houk was a Major Leauge Baseball player for the New York Yankees who won six World Series championships and would later serve 20 seasons as manager of the Yankees, the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox. He was manager of the Yankees from 1961-1963 and again from 1966-1973, where he won three American League pennants and two World Series championships. He went on to manage the Tigers from 1974-1978 and then the Red Sox from 1981-1984 but didn't have near the success as what he had with the Yankees. He managed 3,157 games with a record of 1,619-1,531 and a winning percentage of 51%. He is a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Ralph Houk image
Ralph Houk
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society

Gene Mauch

  • Born: November 18, 1925
  • Died: August 8, 2005
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Salina

Achievement:

Gene Mauch was a Major League Baseball player and manager whose managing career spanned 26 seasons and was regarded as the best manager to never make it to the World Series. His first managing job was with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1960-1968, then he was the first manager of the newly formed Montreal Expos from 1969-1975. He then moved on to the Minnesota Twins from 1976-1980 and ended his career with the California Angles from 1981-1987. He managed 3,942 games with a record of 1,902-2,037 and was named National League Manager of the Year three times, in 1962, 1964 and 1973. He is a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Gene Mauch image
Gene Mauch
Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

Basketball

Forrest "Phog" Allen

  • Born: November 18, 1885
  • Died: September 16, 1974
  • Connection to Kansas: Lived in Lawrence

Achievement:

Forrest "Phog" Allen was the long-time coach of the Kansas Jayhawks and was known as the "Father of Basketball Coaching." He began his coaching career at Baker University from 1905-1908 and while coaching at Baker coached at the University of Kansas (1907-1909) and Haskell Institute (1908-1909). He then left to coach at Warrensburg Teachers College before before returning to coach the Jayhawks in 1919 until 1956. He is the University of Kansas' all-time winningest coach and posted a career record 746-264 (74% winning percentaage), retiring with the all-time record for most wins in college basketball history at the time. He led the Jayhawks 24 conference championships, three final fours and three national championships. He was the driving force behind basketball becoming an official Olympic sport and later coached on the 1952 United States gold medal winning team. He is a member of the KU Athletics Hall of Fame, the College Basketball Hall of Fame, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. The basketball arena at the University of Kansas is named in his honor.

Phog Allen photo
Forrest "Phog" Allen
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society

Larry Drew

  • Born: April 2, 1958
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Kansas City

Achievement:

Larry Drew is a former basketball player who played ten seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) who later began his coaching career in the NBA in 1992 as a assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers. He had assistant coaching stops with the Detroit Pistons (1999-2000), Washington Wizards (2000-2003), New Jersey Nets (2003-2004) and Atlanta Hawks (2004-2010) before being named head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, serving from 2010 to 2013 and leading the Hawks to the playoffs each year he was coach. He moved on to the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013-2014 and is now an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has a career head coaching record of 143-169.

Larry Drew image
Larry Drew
Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Bucks

Bill Guthridge

  • Born: July 27, 1937
  • Died: May 12, 2015
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Parsons

Achievement:

Bill Guthridge was involved in more National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Final Fours (14) than any person in history. He played basketball at Kansas State University and helped lead the Wildcats to the 1958 Final Four. After graduating he was an assistant at K-State for five years and helped K-State win two conference championships and get to the 1964 Final Four. He then went on to the University of North Carolina to serve as the top assistant under fellow Kansan Dean Smith for 30 years and helped the Tar Heels win 17 conference championships, reach 10 Final Fours, and win four national championships. After Dean Smith retired, he was named head coach of the Tar Heels for three years and compiled an 80-28 record (74% winning percentage) and lead them to Final Fours in 1998 and 2000. He was named the Naismith College Coach of the Year in 1998. He is a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Bill Gutheridge image
Bill Guthridge
Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

Lionel Hollins

  • Born: October 19, 1953
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Arkansas City

Achievement:

Lionel Hollins is a former ten-year veteran of the National Basketball Association (NBA) who later became a coach in the NBA. He had assistant coaching stops with the Phoenix Suns (1988-1995), Vancouver Grizzlies (1995-1999), Memphis Grizzlies (2002-2007) and Milwaukee Bucks (2008-2009). He was named interim head coach of the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1999 and the again named interim coach of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2004. He got his first official head coaching job in 2009 when he was named head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, serving until 2013, and leading the Grizzlies to the playoffs in three out of his five seasons there. He was the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets from 2014 to 2016 and has a career coaching record of 262-272.

Lionel Hollins image
Lionel Hollins
Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

Gene Keady

  • Born: May 21, 1936
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Larned

Achievement:

Gene Keady was one of the best men's college basketball coaches to never win a national championship. He began his coaching career at Hutchinson Community College from 1966-1974 and led Hutchinson to six conference titles and was named National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) coach of the year three times. His main success in coaching came when he coach Purdue University from 1980-2005 where he led Purdue to six conference championships, led his team to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament 17 times and was named conference coach of the year seven times. He still ranks second all-time in the Big 10 conference for wins and posted a career record of 550-289 (66% winning percentage). The basketball court at Purdue's Mackey Arena is named in his honor. He is a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame, NJCAA Hall of Fame, Purdue Athletic Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Gene Keady image
Gene Keady
Photo courtesy of the NABC Foundation

Lon Kruger

  • Born: August 19, 1952
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Silver Lake

Achievement:

Lon Kruger is the current coach of the Univeristy of Oklahoma and is one of only two coaches in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) history to lead five different schools to the NCAA men's bastketball tournament. He started his coaching career at the University of Texas-Pan American (1982-1986) with coaching stints at Kansas State Univeristy (1986-1990), the University of Florida (1990-1996), the University of Illinois (1996-2000), and the University of Nevada- Las Vegas (2004-2011). He was also the coach of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Atlanta Hawks (2000-2003). Prior to the 2018 season he has a career record of 619-395 (61% winning percentage), has one conference championship, been to two Final Fours and has been named conference coach of the year four times. He is a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

See also under College Athletes.

Lon Kruger image
Lon Kruger
Photo by Alonzo Adams/USA TODAY Sports

John McLendon

  • Born: April 5, 1915
  • Died: October 8, 1999
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Hiawatha, raised in Kansas City

Achievement:

John McLendon experienced several "firsts" during his 28 years of coaching. He began his career at North Carolina Central University (1941-1952) where he led his team to eight conference championships then moved on to Hampton University (1953-1954) and Tennessee State University (1955-1959). At Tennessee State he led the Tigers to three consecutive National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national championships becoming the first college coach to do so. In 1961 he was head coach of the Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League becoming the first African-American to coach a professional basketball team. From 1967-1969 he coached Cleveland State University becoming the first African-American to coach at a predominantly white school. He had a career record of 496-179 (73% winning percentage), was named NAIA coach of the year three times, the basketball court at Tennessee State's Gentry Center and the basketball arena at North Carolina Central are named in his honor. He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

John McLendon image
John McLendon
Photo courtesy of the University of Kansas Libraries

Ralph Miller

  • Born: March 9, 1919
  • Died: May 15, 2001
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Chanute

Achievement:

Ralph Miller was a men's college basketball coach for 38 years who compiled a career record of 657-382 (63% winning percentage) between coaching stints at Wichita State University (1951-1964), the University of Iowa (1964-1970) and Oregon State University (1970-1989), where he had his most success. He led his different teams to seven conference championships and 16 postseason tournament appearances. He has been named conference coach of the year four times, national coach of the year twice and the basketball court at Oregon State's Gill Coliseum is named in his honor. He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the College Basketball Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Ralph Miller image
Ralph Miller
Photo courtesy of hoopszone.net

Billie Moore

  • Born: May 5, 1943
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Raised in Westmoreland and Topeka

Achievement:

Billie Moore was the first women's college basketball coach to win national championships with two different schools. She started coaching at California State-Fullerton (1969-1977) leading her team to eight conference titles and the 1970 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) national championship. She then spent the next 16 years at UCLA (1977-1993) where she won two conference titles and the 1978 AIAW national championship. She posted a career record of 436-196 (70% winning percentage). She was also the first coach of the USA women's basketball team and led them to the silver medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada. She is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Billie Moore image
Billie Moore
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame

James Naismith

  • Born: November 6, 1861
  • Died: November 28, 1938
  • Connection to Kansas: Lived in Lawrence

Achievement:

James Naismith created the game of basketball in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts as a game for his YMCA students to play during the harsh New England winters. He came to Kansas in 1898 to work as a chaplain and physical education instructor at the University of Kansas and became the university's first basketball coach. He coached at Kansas from 1898 to 1907, compiling a career record of 55-60 and is ironically the school's only men's basketball coach to post a losing record. The basketball court in Kansas' Allen Fieldhouse is named in his honor. He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (named in his honor), the College Basketball Hall of Fame, the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the KU Athletics Hall of Fame, the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame and several other hall of fames.

James Naismith image
James Naismith
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society

Adolph Rupp

  • Born: September 1901
  • Died: December 10, 1977
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Halstead

Achievement:

Known as the "Baron of the Bluegrass," Adolph Rupp served men's basketball coach at the University of Kentucky from 1930-1972. He totaled a career record of 876-190, which was the most wins by a coach at the time he retired and is still fifth all-time, and an 82% winning percentage which is second all-time. He led Kentucky to 27 conference championships, six final fours, four national championships, was named conference coach of the year seven times and national coach of the year five times. The basketball arena at the University of Kentucky is named in his honor. He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the College Basketball Hall of Fame, the University of Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Adolph Rupp image
Adolph Rupp
Photo courtesy of Kentucky Athletics

Bill Self

  • Born: December 27, 1962
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Lives in Lawrence

Achievement:

Bill Self is the current men's basketball coach at the University of Kansas and is regarded as one of the best coaches in all of college basketball. He began is coaching career at Oral Roberts University with stops at Tulsa University and the Univesity of Illinois before taking over at Kansas in 2003. Prior to the 2018 season he has a career record of 654-201 (77% winning percentage) and has led the Jayhawks to 14 conference championships, three Final Fours and one national championship. He has been named conference coach of the year seven times and national coach of the year four times. His is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and was named Distinguished Kansan of the Year in 2008 by the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas.

Bill Self image
Bill Self
Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Dean Smith

  • Born: February 28, 1931
  • Died: February 7, 2015
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Emporia

Achievement:

Dean Smith was one of the all-time greats in college basketball coaching. He served as head men's basketball coach at the University of North Carolina from 1961 to 1997, compiling a career record of 879-254 (77% winning percentage) and retired as the all-time winningest coach. He led North Carolina to 17 conference championships, 11 Final Fours and four national titles, was named conference coach of the year nine times and national coach of the year four times. He also served as head coach for the gold medal winning USA men's basketball team at the 1976 Summer Olympics. The basketball arena at the University of North Carolina is named in his honor.He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the College Basketball Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, was named Kansan of the Year in 2000 by the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.

Dean Smith image
Dean Smith
Photo courtesy of the NABC Foundation

Eddie Sutton

  • Born: March 12, 1936
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Bucklin

Achievment:

Eddie Sutton was one of men's college basketball's most accomplished and successful coaches during his 37 year career. His career began a Creighton Univeristy before moving on to the University of Arkansas where he led the Razorbacks to four conference titles and one Final Four. He then went to the University of Kentucky, leading them to one confernce title before settling in for a long stint at Oklahoma State University, leading the Cowboys to three conference titles and two Final Fours. He was the first coach to lead four different schools to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament, was named conference coach of the year eight times, national coach of the year twice and retired with a career record of 804-327 (71% winning percentage). The basketball court at Oklahoma State's Gallagher-Iba Arena is named in his honor. He is a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Eddie Sutton image
Eddie Sutton
Photo by Chris Landsberger/AP

Football

Chuck Broyles

  • Born: February 5, 1947
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Raised in Mulberry

Achievement:

Chuck Broyles served as coach of Pittsburg State University from 1990-2009 and retired as one of the most successful collegiate football coaches in the nation at any level, amassing a career record of 198-47-2 (81% winning percentage). He led the Gorillas to nine conference titles, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II playoffs 15 times, the NCAA Division II national title game four times and won the national championship in 1991. He was named national Division II Coach of the Year three times, is a member of the Pittsburg State Athletic Hall of Fame and a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Chuck Broyles image
Chuck Broyles
Photo by Sean Steffen/The Morning Sun

Ted Kessinger

  • Born: January 15, 1941
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Lives in Lindsborg

Achievement:

Ted Kessinger served as head coach of the Bethany College Swedes for 28 season from 1976 to 2003 amassing a career record of 219-57-1 with a winning percentage of 79% and never had a losing season. He lead Bethany to 16 conference championships, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) playoffs ten times and achieved a Top 25 ranking 20 times including a number one ranking in 1979. He was named Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) Coach of the Year 11 times, is a member of the Bethany College Athletics Hall of Honor, the NAIA Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Ted Kessinger image
Ted Kessinger
Photo courtesy of Bethany College

John H. Outland

  • Born: March 7, 1871
  • Died: March 24, 1947
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Hesper

Achievement:

John H. Outland was a football player and coach in the early years of college football. As a player he was a two-time All-American at the University of Pennsylvania and was one of the few men ever to win All-American honors as a lineman and as a halfback. As a coach he was the head coach for the University of Kansas for the 1901 season with a record of 3-5-2 and then served as head coach for Washburn University from 1904-1905 with a record of 14-5. He was the founder of the Outland Trophy which has been given annually to the best interior lineman in college football since 1946. He is also founder of the Kansas Relays in 1923 which is one of the top track and field events in the country. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

John Outland image
John H. Outland
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame

Carnie Smith

  • Born: January 29, 1911
  • Died: January 25, 1979
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Weir

Achievement:

Carnie Smith was the head coach at Pittsburg State University from 1949-1966 and is regarded as the man who built the school into a national powerhouse football program. He guided Pittsburg State to a career record of 116-52-6 (68% winning percentage), six conference championships and two National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national championships and was named NAIA national coach of the year one time. The football stadium at Pittsburg State University is named after him and he is a member of the Pittsburg State Athletic Hall of Fame, the NAIA Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Carnie Smith image
Carnie Smith
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame

Bill Snyder

  • Born: October 7, 1939
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Lives in Manhattan

Achievement:

Bill Snyder is consideredy by many as the architect of the greatest turnaround in college football history, taking the worst football program in the nation at Kansas State University and turning it into a national power. He coached at Kansas State from 1989-2005, retired briefly, then returned to Kansas State in 2009 and is the current coach. He has compiled a career record to date of 210-110-1 (66% winning percentage), won two conference championships, led the Wildcats to two #1 national rankings and 19 Bowl games. He has been named National Coach of the Year five times, is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame and was named Distinguished Kansan of the Year in 1998 by the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas. The football stadium at Kansas State University is named in his honor.

Bill Snyder image
Bill Snyder
Photo courtesy of Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

Volleyball

Joan Wells

  • Born: December 21, 1948
  • Died:
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Atchison

Achievement:

Joan Wells is considered to be one of the greatest volleyball coaches in Kansas history. She coached at Lawrence High School from 1971 to 1997 and compiled a record of 865-89, a winning percentage of nearly 91%. During her career she won 15 league titles, made 26 trips to the state tournament and won the state tournament 15 times with seven runner-up finishes. Her 1990, 1992 and 1995 teams were nationally ranked in the Top 25. She was named the Kansas Coaches Association Volleybal Coach of the Year four times and in 1997 was named the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National Volleyball Coach of the Year. She is a member of the Kansas State High School Activities Association Hall of Fame, the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the National Federation of State High School Associations Hall of Fame and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.

Joan Wells image
Joan Wells
Photo courtesy of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame

Wrestling

Edward C. Gallagher

  • Born: September 5, 1887
  • Died: August 28, 1940
  • Connection to Kansas: Born in Perth

Achievement:

Edward Gallagher was the wrestling coach at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University) from 1916-1940 who used his knowledge of engineering and leverage to become a pioneering coach of college wrestling. As coach he tallied 138 victories, five losses and four ties and had a streak of 70 consecutive victories from 1919 to 1931. During his career he won ten conference championships and 11 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships and had 15 of his wrestlers qualify for Olympic wrestling teams. Oklahoma State Univesity's basketball and wrestling arena is named in his honor and he is a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame.

Edward Gallagher image
Edward C. Gallagher
Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame