So far, it has been a good week for Kansas University athletes who came to school as walk-ons and earned scholarships.
Conner Teahan shot Kansas to a 84-55 exhibition victory Tuesday night against Pittsburg State in Allen Fieldhouse. Justin Wesley didn’t let his free-throw woes and uneven early play keep him from hustling his way to a stronger finish that included an emphatic, crowd-energizing blocked shot.
Fifth-year football senior Ted McNulty hopes to keep the theme going Saturday in his home state against Iowa State for a game that kicks off at 11:30 a.m. in Ames.
Proving he’s from Iowa, McNulty has a piece of memorabilia valued greatly by natives of Iowa City, home of Iowa Hawkeyes football: an autographed picture of Chuck Long, KU’s offensive coordinator.
“It’s from when he was with the (Detroit) Lions,” McNulty said. “My dad got it for me.”
Ted’s father, Jim McNulty, played at Iowa (1973-76) well before Long (1982-85).
“Bringing some Iowa City over here is always good,” said Ted McNulty, a reserve tight end. “Everybody knows (Long) and loves him up there.”
It’s only natural Ted should hate everything Cyclones, but he doesn’t. Former ISU coach Dan McCarney and Jim McNulty remain close friends from their days as Iowa teammates.
“I actually thought about going there for a little bit, but then once they got rid of Dan, I wasn’t considering them anymore,” Ted said. “We kind of had a torn family. Gotta support the Hawkeyes, born and raised in Iowa City, but we made it to a lot of Cyclones’ games.”
Ted’s kid brother Andrew, a first-team all-state selection at Iowa City High in 2010, is a freshman at North Texas, where McCarney is in his second year as head coach. Andrew has completed 28 of 51 passes for 352 yards and a touchdown.
College football can be a small world. When Ted went to a North Texas game during KU’s bye week, he not only watched a coach and quarterback he had known his whole life, he also visited with Mean Green defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, who was at KU for Ted’s first three seasons.
Both of Ted McNulty’s career receptions have been for 11 yards, one in the 2010 victory against Georgia Tech, one this season in a loss at Oklahoma State. His other big catch came in the form of a scholarship coach Turner Gill surprised him with, breaking the news to him in the first team meeting of fall camp.
“That was a pretty good way to start the season,” McNulty said. “I accomplished one of my goals when I first got here, so that was huge. You just have to keep setting goals and going after them.”
Winning at Iowa State in front of 30 friends and family members is another.
“It’s my last chance to play football in Iowa, so it’s a big one,” he said. “This one’s been circled for me on the calendar for a long time.”
— Sports editor Tom Keegan can be reached at 832-7147.