One of the most ignorant statements you can make about the University of Kansas is: That is nothing but a one-sport school.
I’m confident there are some players and coaches who would beg to differ.
Take for instance the Jayhawk softball team. This year’s squad has gotten off to a 14-1 start, with its only defeat to No. 1 ranked Florida.
This isn’t new to the ladies of the diamond this year. Last season they qualified for the NCAA Tournament, and left with a victory against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
They have won 30-plus games each season since 2010, and went 41-16 in 2013.
The University Daily Kansan’s Shane Jackson recently touched on this topic and made a great point, despite arguing that Kansas Athletics is much more then men’s basketball.
“The University of Kansas is a basketball school; always has been and always will be,” he wrote. “I’m not deluded enough to believe different. The fact that the sport’s creator was the first coach here has a bit to do with that.”
Jayhawk baseball coach Ritch Price, who is in his 12th season in Lawrence, took it one step further when talking about opening this season at LSU.
“KU has been a basketball school for 100 years and will be for the next 100 years,” Price said. “The reputation is so great, it puts a shadow on other teams. It’s the ultimate compliment to the basketball program, at the same time we just worry about ourselves, and we get to prove people wrong.”
Price was far from criticizing the basketball team, but he was correct in stating its success unintentionally makes what other teams at Kansas accomplish seem minimal, when in fact they are not.
The second reason this “one sport” reputation exists is that the football team has struggled recently, and with it being the most popular sport nationally, that carries with it some weight.
While that is true the past six years, if you go back just a decade the Jayhawks have had some decent success. Believe it or not, the football team has three bowl victories, including the coveted Orange Bowl in 2008.
If you look to the west at Kansas State University, the Wildcats have one bowl victory during that time — the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Which is interesting, because that is the fan base that the “one sport” shouts come from the most, along with the fans in Columbia, Missouri.
Here are a few other recent accomplishments for non-men’s basketball Jayhawk teams.
- 2012-13 Back-to-back Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament appearances
- 2014 NCAA Tournament (second in the Big 12)
- 2013 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16
- 2012 NCAA Tournament Second Round
- 22-plus victories 2012-2014
Women’s Track and Field
- 2013 Outdoor Track and Field National Champions (Big 12 Champions)
- 2013 Indoor Big 12 Champions
- 2014 NCAA Tournament (third in the Big 12)
- 15-plus victories — 2011, 2012, 2014
- 2014 NCAA Tournament (third in Big 12 Conference)
- 30-plus victories in 2013 and 2014
- 2014 NCAA Tournament
As you can see there has been plenty of success in just the past 3-4 years in Lawrence. Maybe those who think it’s only the men on the hardwood who win, are fixated on national championships.
But wait, there is another one besides the magical 2008 hoops title.
Kansas Track and Field coach Stanley Redwine has as many national titles as Bill Self.
Of course, it’s hard to argue with the average sports fan, because most national talk is about football and basketball — and sometimes just football.
But if you do find yourself defending this one-sport Jayhawk myth, pull up this link on your phone, and show the proof.
The last time I checked, there haven’t been many national championships coming out of Manhattan or Columbia in the past 50 years.
As in zero.
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