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'TEX MESSAGES' SALUTES FORMER WILDCAT COACH

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'TEX MESSAGES' SALUTES FORMER WILDCAT COACH

By Mark Janssen

Larry Weigel laughs at some of the responses he's received to his new book, Tex Messages.
 
Attempting to get reflections from former Wildcat players, Weigel chuckled as he repeated the response that came from more than one former K-Stater: "I don't text message," some of the old-timers responded.  "I don't even use e-mail."

That's when Weigel had to stop the conversation with a "no, no, no, no," and explain his project was in honor of former basketball coach and Hall of Famer Tex Winter at Kansas State.
 
He had to explain how the scrapbook he was putting together was one of memories from former K-State players to their coach.
 
Tex Messages: A tribute to Tex Winter
 
"Tex is Kansas State's personality.  He's humble ... not boastful at all, and doesn't draw attention to himself," said Weigel.  "Everybody likes him.  You can't say anything better about a person than that. They just don't get any better than Tex."
 
Weigel said he remembered telling the 89-year-old Winter of his project several months ago and how Winter asked why he was doing it.
 
"I just told him that he was so special to many people and they wanted to tell coach how they feel," said Weigel, a Certified Senior Advisor for Keating and Associates in Manhattan.  "He said, 'Oh.'
 
"That was it. 'Oh' " laughed Weigel.  "It was a typical Tex answer."
 
The wire-bound 180-page book includes pictures and memories on each of its pages starting with Winter's arrival in 1947 as an assistant coach to Jack Gardner.
 
Year by year, it then jogs its way through Winter's years spent with the Wildcats, giving highlights of the 261 total wins, the eight Big 7/8 Championships, and being a part of all four of K-State's Final Four appearances - 1948, 1951, 1958 and 1964 -as either an assistant or head coach.
 
"There were so many former players that talked about the family atmosphere that we had, and how Tex was like a father-figure or a brother," said Weigel.

That included memories from the stars, to those like Bill Aye, who served as K-State's first-ever team manager of the 1948 team.
 
Aye's memory included the fact that one of his jobs was to make sure those attending to the gates would let Winter into Nichols Gymnasium because he looked young enough to be a student.
 
In a personal hand-written note to Winter, Hayden Abbott wrote, "You gave me a very successful basketball career at Kansas State 'and' the beginning of a most wonderful and happy life!  You turned it all around for me."
 
And from All-American Jack Parr, "You have served as mentor and faithful model of integrity and loyalty to all that you have touched."
 
Gene Wilson was the first African American basketball player at K-State in 1950. Wilson wrote, "You didn't talk down to our players.  You were always helpful and remained calm, which made me feel comfortable so I could carry out my assignment."
 
And from All-American Bob Boozer came these words: "Tex Winter was the perfect gentleman to play for.  I'd put him in the same class as John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski and Pete Newell."
 
Weigel, who played under Winter from 1964-65 through 1966-67, said, "I couldn't even guess," when asked the number of hours he has spent on the project that he started last August, but simply calls it, "My labor of love for Tex."
 
The private collection of memories is available at Claflin Books and Copies in Manhattan.  While designed for the 90 individuals who contributed memories, Tex Messages, will also be available to the general public at a cost of $56.50.  There will also be a $5 charge for shipping.


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