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Monday, October 6, 2014

Freeman, 2 Jayhawks enter Hall

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— Former Lawrence High football and track coach Bill Freeman and Kansas University athletes Charlie Hoag and Walt Wesley were among 10 individuals inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday at Wichita Boathouse.

At least 30 former LHS players, coaches and administrators were on hand in support of Freeman, who is battling Alzheimer’s and could not attend.

Former LHS lineman Kris Weidling came all the way from his home in Holly Springs, North Carolina, for the ceremony in which Freeman’s three grandchildren — Tyler (19), Bryson (17) and Kaitlyn Meats (15) — represented Freeman at the podium.

“The thing about coach Freeman was, lead by example. It was the winning, but more than that, the hard work that went with it,” Weidling said of the 83-year-old Freeman, who won eight state football titles at LHS, Osawatomie and LeRoy and two state track crowns at LHS.

“Coach Freeman would drive Saturday morning to get the film (of next opponent) and watch it 10 times before we came in on Sunday. It’s the hard work, that’s the real lesson. It’s why I came back to pay tribute to what he meant to me. Once you are part of that ... you wake up 20 years later and realize, ‘Oh, gosh, that’s where I learned a lot about that,” Weidling, the director of human resources for Novartis, said of life lessons.

The versatile Hoag was a guard on KU’s 1952 national basketball title team and won a gold medal playing for the U.S. in the 1952 Olympics in Finland. He gained 1,914 rushing yards at halfback at KU and had nine points and four rebounds in an NCAA hoops title victory over St. John’s. He also lettered in track and baseball.

A native of Fort Myers, Florida, Wesley was a two-time basketball All-America selection at KU. Playing for 2009 Kansas Sports Hall of Fame inductee Ted Owens, Wesley led the Jayhawks in scoring in his junior and senior seasons and averaged over 20 points per game both years. Wesley was named an All-Big Eight selection in 1965 and 1966 and was also selected as a Helms Foundation first-team All-American both seasons. Wesley is No. 28 scorer in school history. He was selected in the first round of the 1966 NBA Draft by the Cincinnati Royals and played 10 NBA seasons, registering over 5,000 points and over 3,000 rebounds. Wesley’s jersey was retired in 2004.

Others inducted Sunday: Roger Barta, DeLoss Dodds, Caroline Bruce McAndrew, Ed Nealy, Gene Stephenson, Bill Tidwell and Chuckie Williams.

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