Monday, October 21, 2013


Opinion: Reflections on Bud, Border War


The way John Hadl sees it, there is not, never was, and never will be anything controversial about the Border War football game 53 years ago that the two sides both count as victories.

“We just kicked their butts,” Hadl said Monday over the phone while his Chinese food grew cold. “The Missouri players still talk about it. They admitted we kicked their butts. Well, most of them do.”

When the clock expired, the scoreboard read: Kansas 23, Missouri 7.

“They came in No. 1, undefeated,” Hadl said. “They couldn’t believe we beat them.”

According to Missouri’s records, the Tigers deserve credit for the victory and lead the series 57-54-9. KU has Mizzou leading 56-55-9.

The Jayhawks won on the field Nov. 19, 1960, but the Tigers won the outcome of a Big 8 faculty meeting Dec. 8, 1960. It was ruled that Kansas used an ineligible player, running back Bert Coan. He had missed most of the season because of a shoulder injury, played the previous week against Colorado and rushed for 67 yards on nine carries in the Missouri upset.

It was ruled that Coan was not eligible because Bud Adams, a graduate of the KU school of engineering and a quarterback on the 1942 football team, paid for Coan’s flight to an All-Star Game in Chicago and accompanied him on the trip. At the time, Coan played for TCU. After that, he transferred to Kansas.

Adams, who would go on to become the first owner of the Houston Oilers, who became the Tennessee Titans, died Sunday at the age of 90 in his home in Houston.

“Hate to lose him, but by God he made it to 90,” Hadl said. “That’s pretty good.”

Hadl played the final two years of his career for the Houston Oilers, owned by Adams.

“I’d see him probably once a week when he would come down to practice,” Hadl said. “But he wasn’t involved in anything on the field. He kept his distance.”

Hadl noted that Adams was a strong contributor to KU and the Sigma Chi fraternity and that the “Boots” Adams Alumni Center is named after Bud’s father.

“He loved KU,” Hadl said. “I tried to get him to contribute to the football facility back awhile ago, but that didn’t go anywhere. He got quiet toward (KU) athletics later in life.”

If Hadl couldn’t put Adams in a giving mood toward KU football, nobody could.

The best closer among the KU athletic department’s fundraisers, Hadl was a key player in the construction of the Anderson Family Football Complex at Kivisto Field. He now has attention turned toward soliciting contributions for the revamping of Memorial Stadium.

“We’ve got to do it,” Hadl said. “We’ve got to get that done.”

Once the KU offense speeds up, so, too, will the donations. Unfortunately, Hadl can’t help the offense. He exhausted his eligibility, not to mention his extraordinary athletic ability, but No. 21 remains a big player in the athletic department.


David A. Smith 4 years, 8 months ago

How anyone from the Missouri side would want to rear their heads up after such a defeat in order to claim victory is beyond me. If it were me, I'd just quietly move on to the next topic. Speaking of Tigers, how's Chuck today?

Lance Cheney 4 years, 8 months ago

This is all news to me. I never knew Bud Adams was a KU grad, but this article kind of tarnishes his reputation for me. He obviously had plenty of money, but refused to send any the university's way? That's kind of weird. I'm sorry to hear about his passing, but that just kind of jumped out at me.

Al Martin 4 years, 8 months ago

"Hadl noted that Adams was a strong contributor to KU and the Sigma Chi fraternity and that the “Boots” Adams Alumni Center is named after Bud’s father."

Just because he wasn't loud about it doesn't mean he didn't contribute.

Lance Cheney 4 years, 8 months ago

Noted. I guess it would help if I pay attention when I read. I stand corrected.

Clarence Haynes 4 years, 8 months ago

If I am not mistaking, Adams was involved with the development of Jayhawker Towers! What a great idea and place to live in the day!

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