Four Wildcats Named to Kansas Sports Hall of Fame
Four Wildcats Named to Kansas Sports Hall of Fame
MANHATTAN, Kan. – In an announcement by the state of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday, former K-State standouts Steve Anson (baseball), Jaime Mendez III (football) and Austra Skujyte (women’s track and field) and current K-State Associate Athletic Director for Administration Jerry Kill have been selected as members of the 55th Anniversary Class of 2016. The induction class of 2016 will be enshrined in ceremonies on October 2 at the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in the Wichita Boathouse.
A native of Princeton, Indiana, Anson’s baseball career in the state of Kansas began in 1972 when he enrolled at Kansas State. Anson was a four year letter winner for the Wildcats and set career and single season marks that still stand today. A career .349 hitter in 184 games, Anson led the team in hits and batting average all four years in Manhattan. As of 2016, Anson also held the school record for career triples with 19. Anson was named a first-team All-Big 8 performer in 1974.
Following his playing career, Anson was named head coach of Wayne State University in 1978 before being named the head coach at Washburn University in Topeka in 1980. Anson guided the Ichabods to five NAIA National Tournaments and was named the 1994 MIAA Conference Coach of the Year. In 24 years at Washburn, Anson compiled a career coaching record of 844-798-3. Anson was named to the K-State Baseball All-Century team in 2000 and was inducted to the Washburn Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.
Recently appointed to an administrative role within K-State Athletics, Kill’s coaching career spanned parts of three decades and numerous conference and national honors. After graduating from Cheney High School in 1979, Kill attended Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, where he played linebacker for the Moundbuilders.
Kill began his coaching career as an assistant to Dennis Franchione at Pittsburg State University in 1985 and he served on the staff under fellow Kansas Sports Hall of Fame inductee Chuck Broyles for the 1991 Pittsburg State National Championship team. Kill’s first head coaching position came in 1994 at Saginaw Valley State in Michigan before stints at Emporia State University from 1999 to 2000, Southern Illinois from 2001 to 2007, and Northern Illinois from 2008 to 2010.
In 2010, Kill was named the head coach at the University of Minnesota. During his career, Kill won four conference championships while posting a career coaching record of 152-99. Kill was honored with National Coach of the Year awards three times and was named the 2014 Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year. In 2004, Kill was inducted to the Southwestern College Athletic Hall of Fame and he was inducted to the Southern Illinois University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.
A product of Youngstown, Ohio, Mendez III helped form the foundation of K-State football during the early 1990s. A four year letter winner for the Wildcats, Mendez’s impact was immediate as he led the team in interceptions and interception return yardage as a freshman, both marks setting school records.
Mendez was named honorable mention All-Big 8 as a freshman and was named the Big 8 Newcomer of the Year in 1990. Mendez also earned All-Big 8 Conference honors in 1991, 1992, and 1993. In 1993, Mendez helped lead the Wildcats to a 9-2-1 record and the school’s second bowl game while recording a career high in tackles.
Mendez was named a consensus All-American selection and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award in 1993. In 1994, Mendez signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles. As of 2016, Mendez’s fifteen career interceptions still rank tops in K-State history. Mendez was inducted to the K-State Football Ring of Honor in 2002 and the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.
A four-time All-American track star at K-State, Skujytė from Biržai, Lithuania, rewrote the K-State record books on her way to Olympic history. The first woman to win two NCAA National Championships at K-State, Skujytė won back to back outdoor heptathlon titles in 2001 and 2002 earning All-American honors both years. Skujytė claimed two outdoor Big 12 Conference titles in the heptathlon in 2001 and the long jump in 2002 and also won two indoor conference titles in the pentathlon in both 2001 and 2002. Skujytė was named the Big 12 Conference Outdoor Performer of the Year in 2001 and 2002 and the conference Indoor Performer of the Year in 2002. Skujytė also helped lead the Wildcats to Big 12 Outdoor Conference championships in 2001 and 2002.
Following her collegiate career, Skujytė competed for her home country in the 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012, Olympic Games becoming the only woman to compete in the heptathlon in four different Olympics. Skujytė won the silver medal in the heptathlon in 2004 and finished fifth in the same event in 2012. Skujytė was named to the Big 12 Conference 10th Anniversay Track Team and was inducted to the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.
The K-State honorees are joined in the induction Class of 2016 by former Kansas All-American basketball player Bill Bridges (Hobbs, New Mexico), former Kansas City Royals and Kansas broadcaster Bob Davis (Topeka), former Kansas women’s basketball player Tameka Dixon (Linden, New Jersey), former Kansas track and field athlete Bill Dotson (Concordia), Kansas track and field athlete and U.S. Olympian Scott Huffman (Quinter), former Emporia State track and field great Deandra Doubrava-McBride (Scott City), the first African-American high school basketball coach in the Wichita public schools Lafayette Norwood (Wichita) and the first African-American athlete to letter at Pittsburg State and three-time Negro League World Series champion George Sweatt (Humboldt).
The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame now includes 45 representatives with ties to K-State and the 2016 induction class of 12 raises the total of inductees in the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame to 260. Tickets to the induction ceremony may be purchased on-line at kshof.org, or by calling 316-262-2038.