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Bill Mayer

Stories by Bill

Former player Howard Engleman truly was KU basketball great

No Kansas University student athlete ever met Phog Allen’s ultimate standard for excellence better than Howard Engleman, the multi-faceted former basketball All-American who died Wednesday at age 91.

Kansas multis plentiful

But even if the scholarly Conner Teahan somehow should become the No. 1 quarterback, then earn a starting spot on next season’s KU basketball team, he’d still be far in arrears of numerous earlier Jayhawk multi-sportsters.

Tables, railings, KU in ’11

Two technical aspects of college basketball keep bugging me as speculation broadens about next season and how Kansas fits into the 2011 Big 12 picture.

Underdog Butler a great story

Butler’s emergence as 2010 NCAA basketball champion would be one of the greatest underdog stories in college history, maybe sports in general. Go Bulldogs!

Hey KSU: Embrace history

Kansas University basketball fans increasingly have embraced the school’s brilliant history. By now some are even conversant with the marvelous records and players of the 1930s before there was an NCAA Tournament to stir the pot and create bracket mania.

KU must revisit Temple

As the Kansas University basketball team begins stalking another NCAA title, it needs to copycat this: Jan. 2, 2010, Philadelphia — Kansas 84, Temple 52.

No asterisks of infamy for Jayhawks

In all the glitter, glamour and eulogizing during college basketball tournaments and NCAA March Madness, some of the seamier aspects of competing teams in the Big Show get swept under the rug. All you have to do is scan the footnotes of the brackets since 1961 to realize the rather rampant truancy in the system.

Tease photo

Don’t bet against Kansas

Talk about assets — this Kansas basketball team is loaded with them as it begins a realistic quest for another NCAA title.

College athletics shaken up

While no massive temblors have been reported, ominous financial rumblings are creating cracks in the walls and shaking dishes off the shelves in college athletics these days. We’ll see a lot more wavy-gravy as struggling sports treasuries are further depleted.

Olympians celebrities, not heroes

You watch the endless interviews with Winter Olympics personalities and are apprised about their dedication, courage, injury problems and the enormous amount of hard work it took to get them to Vancouver. Then there’s always the reference to the great pressure under which they find themselves, particularly if they are from a developed country that demands that they succeed.

Kentucky basketball victories tainted

Kentucky with its tainted history has registered 2,011 victories to sit atop the college basketball heap. Now North Carolina (1,997) and Kansas (1,993) are neck and neck in an exciting race to the 2,000 level.

Phog Allen protege list goes on

When a list of basketball coaching proteges of Kansas’ Phog Allen is recited, you’re quick to hear the names of Adoph Rupp (Kentucky), Dean Smith (North Carolina), Ralph Miller (Iowa-Oregon State), Dutch Lonborg (Northwestern) and Dick Harp (Kansas).

Aldrich still trails Wilt, Born

Cole Aldrich flirted with his second triple-double as Kansas University ripped Missouri Monday. When he gets No. 2, he’ll still be tied for second with B.H. Born on the legitimate Jayhawk basketball charts

Wooden connected to Memorial Stadium

You see all the promos for the new Kansas University Gridiron Club, note how things have changed at that site since 1919 and suddenly recall that basketball legends Phog Allen and John Wooden both figured in the evolution of the old football horseshoe.

Kansas must find chemistry

The Kansas basketball team had an iffy 14-0 start, looked all-world at Temple, and floundered in a two-game funk with Cornell and Tennessee. Maybe the Nebraska victory is that mid-course correction many great KU teams have needed.

Déjà vu all over again

Almost daily I renew my respect for the observer who noted that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Take college football, university governance, money, personal conflicts, faculty input, name your own poison … it’s all happened at one school after another, including our own Kansas University — would you believe it, 100 years ago right now?

These 2 should be in Hall

The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame is opening two new locations, in Wichita and Newton, to honor Sunflower athletic heroes. Two former Kansas basketball personalities of note are not included on the roster and, considering some of the relative non-entities who are, it’s tragic that Paul Endacott and Dick Harp are missing.

Ex-KU football coach Yost proves to be craftier

Turns out football icon Fielding H. Yost was even craftier than I gave him credit for last week. One of the unwitting contributors to Yost’s game-winning shenanigans here in 1899 was Dr. James Naismith, whom you may have heard of.

Yost won at all costs

After all the recent talk about Kansas University football coaches and their records, good and bad, several have written wondering why I’ve never done anything about a legend who never lost a game here, leaving with a 10-0 mark in 1899.

La Salle, KU have history

The Kansas basketball program has a soft spot in its heart for La Salle, the Philadelphia school whose team confronts the Jayhawks on Saturday.

Mangino’s words just overkill

Mark Mangino’s persistent efforts to create an aura of martyrdom have included a number of dubious remarks. For me the ex-Kansas football coach sawed off a limb of verbal overkill when he fiercely cited one of his codes of conduct — better to die on your feet than exist on your knees.

Gridders, win one for yourselves

Phog Allen’s Kansas basketball pep talks emphasized that while it was all right for his players to win a given game for Phog, the university, the state, their families — on and on — the most important approach was to win it for themselves.

Drama takes away from game

Anyone else dream of those times when athletic teams got ready to compete, coaches and players discussed what was shaping up, played games and then talked about what happened, win or lose?

New facility electric

Bill Self is, along with everything else, a super promoter, so when he calls the current Allen Fieldhouse package the best basketball venue in the world, some might be dubious.

Reesing deserves courtesy

Speculation continues about how many of its four remaining games the Kansas University football team will win. The immediate emphasis should be on bagging that first ONE. End the current slump, now three losses deep, then there might be a reason to discuss a 7-5 or better record and a decent bowl game.

Texas Tech isn’t a pushover

Prior to the 1965 football season, Kansas traded TCU for Texas Tech on its schedule. Many local fans exuded a huge sigh of relief, thinking KU had found a softer touch to take the place of a dominator. Not even close.

Aikman stunned by KU

Kansas University football fans are hopeful that Oklahoma’s quarterback situation leads to a repeat of some history in 1984. That’s when OU came here with its top quarterback injured and a promising but untested freshman from Henryetta, Okla., as the only alternative. That sacrificial lamb? Troy Aikman.

KU win vs. Colorado far from shoo-in

Kansas University football fans, particularly since 2005, understandably have become optimists.

KU officials deserve pat on the back

Whether or not you like Lew Perkins, Bill Self and Mark Mangino as administrators, coaches and whatever, you gotta pat them on the back for how they have faced up to the recent lousy behavior by basketball and football players. They have given no hint of sweeping anything under the rug and have declared their eagerness to wipe off the soot that has tainted Kansas University’s image.

Violent hits take their toll

So far, Kansas’s Todd Reesing, Texas’s Colt McCoy and other Big 12 quarterback compatriots don’t appear to have much cause for concern. Florida’s Tim Tebow does, along with countless former professional football players, in particular high-profile QBs such as Troy Aikman, Trent Green and Steve Young.

Kansas’ image ugly after ridiculous turf war

Some things never change. The late Dick Harp during his days as a Kansas basketball assistant and head coach often uttered a patented evaluation of his job: “Coaches are responsible for a lot of irresponsible kids.” Sound timely?

’38 Duke team stole my heart

When I was 10 years old in KCK, my parents ordered me to be a Kansas University fan. Neither had gone to college, but Dad drove Greyhound buses in Kansas and Missouri and, a la Don Fambrough, he liked the Kansans a lot better. The vaccination took; I wound up carrying a Jayhawk good-luck charm into war.

Hird brothers recalled

Wednesday’s Dugan Arnett article on the Springer twins meeting via rival football teams Saturday at UTEP reminded Lawrence attorney Rick Hird of another adversarial clash of brothers, both Lawrencians.

Hadl, Sayers have come a long way

They can wheel and deal in the best of social circles with style and grace and solid articulation. That doesn’t hurt a bit in their efforts to raise money for the Kansas athletic program.

List needs history lesson

To kick off the college football season, USA Today has compiled a list of what it considers “golden years” for all 120 programs in the NCAA’s Bowl Subdivision. Kansas, of course, is nowhere near the Valhalla level of Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska but it gets short-changed by the USA-T choice of the KU high point.

Stories to follow in 2009

Odds and ends while daydreaming about the Kansas football team meeting Oklahoma here after a 6-0 start, including Big 12 victories over Iowa State and Colorado:

Jayhawk pioneers deserving

Next time the sports masterminds at Kansas University turn out a football media guide, they should correct an error on page 184 of the current brochure. It does an injustice to two Jayhawks who deserve big-time credit for their roles in integrating the modern KU program.

KU could dominate in area

Talk about being blessed with a genie in a jug and the stopper in your hand: That’s the enviable status of the Kansas University athletic program as 2009-10 approaches.

Jayhawks quietly confident

The 2009 Kansas University football contingent exudes a quiet confidence but so far hasn’t shown any tendencies for hot-doggery. Hope it stays that way.

Winning North realistic for KU football

Kansas University football fans, players and coaches have hoped, wished and dreamed their Jayhawks could win a Big 12 North title since the league was formed in 1996. But up to their 7-1 conference title tie in the Orange Bowl season of 2007, they never had better than a fourth-place finish to “celebrate.”

Collins better get in shape

While Sherron Collins keeps one eye on the fast food-fatness chart to get his weight where it has to be, he might train the other ocular orbit on a Kansas basketball teammate with the wherewithal to take over Collins’ job if Sherron gets too fat and sassy.

Mitchell, Frederick, Harp will be dearly missed

The grisly Rule of Three recently pervaded the Kansas University athletic family and claimed a trio of stalwarts — Bob Frederick, Martha Sue Harp and Jack Mitchell. If you’re in the dark, legend has it that The Reaper grabs notables in threes.

Hoops troubles not new

USA Today this week devoted a cover story to the premise that college basketball is in troublesome shape with its payoffs, academic finagling, coaching crookery and financial excesses.

Memorial provides perspective

Bill Mayer column on the Bob Frederick memorial service.

Global game growing

It’s still called the National Basketball Association, but International Basketball Association would be a more fitting name considering the league long ago went global. Young basketeers trying to make the jump to the pros after one year in college must beat out not only collegians such as Blake Griffin, Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry, but international stars such as Spain’s Ricky Rubio.

K-State in dickens of a mess

The Kansas State Ron Prince-Bob Krause football agreement makes the Wildcats look bad.

Schaake paved the way

The late Elmer Schaake shouldn't be overlooked when former Lawrence High and Kansas University sports stars are recalled.

Financial figures startling

Maybe it didn’t surprise you, but a March 23 article in Sports Illustrated by Pablo S. Torre astounded me.

Packer deserves credit

Billy Packer, the semi-retired college basketball analyst, has encountered floods of critics in his long career. A goodly number of them are Kansas-oriented. But local folks shouldn’t be quite so harsh with the former Wake Forest guard since he was a key man in bringing Larry Brown here to inaugurate an unparalleled run of Jayhawk success.

KU web extends all over

They’re 1-2-3 on the college basketball victory list: Kentucky at 1,988; North Carolina at 1,984; Kansas at 1,970. But the best story is who propelled them to such lofty heights. Think Kansas University.