LAWRENCE, Kan. – Before a standing-room only crowd inside the Booth Family Hall of Athletics, KU pole vault great Jordan Scott, the 2008 KU women’s indoor track & field team and the 2010 men’s outdoor track & field team were inducted into the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame Friday morning.
In addition to the aforementioned, the K Club, a branch that helps preserve the history and traditions of Kansas Athletics with student-athlete alumni, presented the 25 and 50-year letter pins to the Jayhawk letterwinners alums during the ceremony. Those present for the 25-year pins included: Rick Abernathy (football), Phillip Basler (football), Laura Carbrey (manager), Doyle Gerard (golf), Chris Jeter (swimming and diving), David Johnson (cross country and track & field), Daniel Mendenhall (swimming and diving), Michael Sweatman (football) and Duane Unruh (football). The 50-year letter pin recipients included: Abernathy, Jeter, Harold Montgomery (football), Ted Riesinger (track & field), Micheal Sweatman (football) and Unruh. After opening comments from Senior Woman Administrator Debbie Van Saun, the 25 and 50-year pins were presented by K Club President Jeff Long and Director of Traditions, Candace Dunback.
Following the pin ceremony, emcee Don Steffens, voice of the Kansas Relays for 41 years, introduced KU assistant track & field coach Tom Hays who presented all three of the inductees as current head coach Stanley Redwine was en route to the 2015 Big 12 Cross Country Championships in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
A two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team member, Scott was the first introduced and received recognition for his achievements both on and off the runway. Scott ranks third on the all-time KU indoor pole vault list with his 18-2 1/2″ vault at the 2009 Big 12 Indoor Championships and second on the all-time KU outdoor list with his 18-8 ¾” jump at the 2010 Texas Relays. Vaulting as a professional in 2013, Jordan took the USA Indoor Championship at a height of 18-4 ½”.
While competing for the Jayhawks, Scott dominated the Big 12 pole vault scene, winning seven of eight possible Big 12 indoor and outdoor titles. He became the first Jayhawk outdoor national champion in any event since 2003 and the first outdoor pole vault winner since 1970 when he won the 2010 Outdoor NCAA Championship. After winning the Big 12 indoor and outdoor pole vault titles as a freshman, he earned dual recognition as the Big 12 Indoor and Outdoor Outstanding Freshman of the Year.
“Jordan stayed in the moment, was a competitor, cleared the bar and won the (NCAA) championship,” Hays said when describing how Scott won the 2010 NCAA outdoor pole vault title under cold and rainy conditions. “Because he was calm and collected for about six hours, Jordan Scott won the national title. When he had a chance to be on the biggest stage, he took it.”
Scott thanked his coaches, family and teammates for all their efforts to assisting him throughout his athletics and KU track & field career.
“This quote is by Jim Collins, ‘Good is the enemy of great’,” Scott said. “I say that quote for two reasons. One, because that is a quote I’ve always lived by and two, because it’s the shortest one and the easiest to remember.”
Under Redwine, the 2008 Kansas women’s track & field team set a then-record team finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships. It earned 18 points to place 10th overall, beating KU’s previous high team placement of 15th at the 1996 NCAA Championships. Led by junior Nickesha Anderson (second, 200-meter dash and sixth, 60-meter dash), the rest of the scoring for the women came from junior Stephanie Horton (eighth, shot put) and senior Kate Sultanova (third, pole vault).
“Each of these teams had their own identities,” Hays said in introducing the two track & field squads which entered the Hall. “The girls, you guys took care of business. You had your own personality, your own persona. It was very exciting to watch and it’s exciting to see your faces back here. This is a reward that you guys earned.”
The 2010 Kansas men’s track and field team earned a seventh-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Led by Scott, a junior on that team, who won the pole vault championship, and freshman Mason Finley, who took second place in the shot put and the discus, the Jayhawks collected 26 points. The finish was the highest team finish at the NCAA meet since it placed fifth in 1975. It was also the first time the men finished in the top-10 since they placed eighth overall at the 1980 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
“With the men’s team we had the old guys and the young guys, so that was their kind of personality,” Hays said. “We had this stud freshman (Mason Finley) and basically he should have won one of the events and almost won two. We had Jordan (Scott), who was seasoned and in control of the meet from the get-go. And then you had you guys (teammates) push them every day and added something special.”
The inductees will be recognized during the Oklahoma at Kansas football game Saturday, Oct. 31, in addition to participating in K Club Weekend activities.
The Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame was established to formally recognize outstanding individual and team achievements, and to preserve the heritage and tradition of the university’s intercollegiate athletics program. The Hall of Fame display is located in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics, on the east side of historic Allen Fieldhouse.