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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Football legend Gale Sayers leaves Kansas Athletics post

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Kansas University football great and pro football Hall of Fame inductee Gale Sayers, hired in October of 2009 to be KU’s director of fundraising for special projects, no longer is employed by the university.

Sayers, a former running back who went on to stardom in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, left Kansas Athletics, Inc., a few weeks ago to take a job in Las Vegas working as a celebrity ambassador for charity events and poker tournaments.

KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger said Sayers’ resignation was an emotional moment.

“Gale was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime, both financially and as a celebrity, and it was something he could not pass up,” Zenger said. “In sharing the move with us, the conversation was very heartfelt and it was important to him that people know how much he cares about the University of Kansas.”

Sayers hosted a charity poker event with former Green Bay Packers great Paul Hornung on Feb. 5 at Las Vegas’ Red Rock Casino.

One casino official said Sayers was not employed by Red Rock and his new endeavor could be tied to a management company that supplies celebrity hosts for similar functions.

During his most recent employment stint in the KU athletic department, Sayers was paid $150,000 annually, and Zenger said he had no plans to replace him.

“When his schedule permits, Gale will continue to join us in athletic department outreach activities,” Zenger said, noting that any future association with KU would not be on a paid basis.

Comments

WilburNether 2 years, 2 months ago

What was his function with the KU Athletic Department that warranted a salary of $150,000?

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ParisHawk 2 years, 2 months ago

I saw him in the OU game when he scored on the opening kickoff and we didn't score again until just before the end of the game. He saved our last TD drive with a huge diving catch over the middle.

Great, great player but overpaid for what he was doing at KU. Despite enormous respect for the player and the man, Zenger must be breathing a bit easier. Not a good business decision by Perkins.

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Bangkok_Jayhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

Cheers Gale! Got to shake his hand and speak with him briegfly once. A great man and a great ambassador for the Jayhawks.

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Steve Brown 2 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Gale Sayers, the galloping ghost, the Kansas Comet, the the best ever.

  1. Small town Kansas grade school we played football at recess and every time one of us had the ball, it was "I'm Gale Sayers", at the top of our lungs, ball tucked under our arm and running over crab grass and dandelions, "you can't touch me" and then run like the wind. Just saying his name made us invincible and like we were running down hill, made the other boys go into slow motion.

  2. On my office wall I have degrees, accolades, banners and awards, trophys and golf balls from far away places and photos from trips all over the world. None of that means as much as my prized framed black and white photo of # 48 running in open field with the Jayhawk on his helmut. I got it from NY Times photo web page years ago.

  3. Maybe 12-15 years ago I was on a delayed flight hanging out in the American Admirals club and noticed famed Tom Watson having coffee and a gaggle of fans were asking him questions and listening to him chat. A legend in his own right. His work with charity and Children's Mercy Hospital is a model. (PS: My 3 year old grandson is at Mercy tonight, but I digress) Over on the other side of the room in a couple chairs being ignored was Mr.& Mrs. "Comet" reading the paper. I sat near them and after a while, in a low voice said, "Mr. Sayers" he looked up, and I said "thank you for being you." He smiled whispered back and said, "you are welcome".

I have been waiting the 2012 FB schedule for a couple weeks and now I will go look at it, but couldn't go there without first paying tribute.

Mr. Sayers, thank you for being you.

Light.

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Jayhawker111 2 years, 2 months ago

On May 30, 1943, in Wichita, Kansas, "The Kansas Comet", Gale Sayers came into this world. Sayers is a former professional football player in the NFL. He played for the Chicago Bears throughout the entirety of his career.

Gale Sayers grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, where he became a graduate of Omaha Central High School. Sayers was also an All-American player two times for the University of Kansas. During his time with the Jayhawks, Gale Sayers gained 2,675 rushing yards, and a close to 4,000 all-purpose yards.

Sayers set the record in 1963 for the NCAA Division I with his 99-yard run versus Nebraska.

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BainDread 2 years, 2 months ago

Unfortunately, Sayers' college career was over before college football games were commonly televised, so few of us old enough to remember his Jayhawk days were able to see him play. I clearly remember spending my Autumn Saturday afternoons in western Kansas, ear glued to the scratchy AM radio broadcast, as the announcer described the exploits of Galloping Gale running though the opponent's defense. I was of grade-school age at the time. It seemed everyone else west of Salina was a KSU fan, but I loved the Jayhawks and Gale Sayers was a probably the main reason.

I did see Gale play in person one time...but it was golf, not football. I was in a foursome behind him at Alvamar one day in the mid 70s. He was much better at football than golf.

One final note regarding his athletic ability; his Nebraska state high school long-jump record (just under 25 feet) stood for 44 years before being broken in 2005.

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BPSkelly 2 years, 2 months ago

KU is fortunate to have "The Kansas Comet" as an alum. Im quite sure his being "Gayle Sayers" is a better paying gig as a Celeb than as a member of the Athletic Department.

Besides, im quite sure having an guy like that as a commercial celebrity has little or no downside for KU.

Good for him.

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142466 2 years, 2 months ago

An unforgettable player, college and pro.

I trust Zengler will exercise due diligence and consult legal counsel before engaging a Las Vegas celebrity to assist KU. Even the appearance of gaming industry connections to KU's athletic department must be strictly avoided.

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missouricat 2 years, 2 months ago

I remember seeing Gale play at KU, and he was one of the greatest players KU will ever have, and with his NFL days with the Chicago Bears was the best games to watch.

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Randy Bombardier 2 years, 2 months ago

Best Wishes to a Great Ambassador!!!

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63Jayhawk 2 years, 2 months ago

Greatest running back of all time. He did it all, kick returns, receiver out of the backfield and what a ball carrier!! He also has been a model citizen and ambassador KU.

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Tony Bandle 2 years, 2 months ago

I had the great pleasure of watching him dismantle my St.Louis Football Cardinals many times. In all the yerars I watched him, not once did I see him get tackled by the first man. It always took a crowd.

The money must have been substantial for him to leave Kansas.

[Charity events...excellent. Poker tournaments...ugh!!]

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troutsee 2 years, 2 months ago

Simply the best running back EVER!!!!!!!

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gchawk 2 years, 2 months ago

Gale is a very engaging and fun person to be around, I'm not surprised by the offer. Gale, we wish you the very best and appreciate all you did for KU, both on and off the field.

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Michael Pannacciulli 2 years, 2 months ago

Brian's song...still one of my favorite movies. Running Brave about Billy Mills the track/XC star and his struggles as a native american at KU is also a decent movie...

Gayle is a living legend. So fortunate we had him representing us in all these different ways over the years.

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kupopp 2 years, 2 months ago

We were fortunate enough to sit at a table with Gale, his wife, and Don Fambrough at an event prior to the Orange Bowl. Gale looked like he could still have played a great half game. All were very friendly and personable. My wife and I both were also fortunate to have seen him play. We wish him the best.

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Janet Scott 2 years, 2 months ago

When I was a kid in grade school, I saw him play twice at KU. Amazing athlete; amazing football player.

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MinnesotaJay 2 years, 2 months ago

Like a gazelle among buffalo, his runs often seemed like he had composed them. Just getting his autograph at the KU Bookstore a few years ago was an unforgettable thrill. Best wishes, Gale.

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stm62 2 years, 2 months ago

I wish that I could have seen him play.

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