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.
“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.