K-State Honors Tex Winter | Part 1

Larry Weigel, former Wildcat basketball player who played for Winter from 1962-66, hand delivers a birthday cake to his old coach. 
The cake's shape? 
A triangle, of course.
Known throughout the world of basketball as the creator of the strategic triangle offense, Winter started his successful 61-year coaching career at K-State in 1947 as an assistant to Wildcat legendary, hall of fame coach Jack Gardner. After a two-year stint as the head coach at Marquette, Winter returned to K-State in 1952 to take over for Gardner and then spent 15 years as the Wildcats' head coach. Posting a 261-118 record, Winter built K-State into a national powerhouse as he led the Wildcats to eight Big 8 titles, six trips to the NCAA Tournament and two trips to the Final Four (1958 and 1964). 
So on Saturday, when K-State Athletics unveiled its new sign naming the road leading to K-State's Basketball Training Facility "Tex Winter Drive," it was an honor to not only Winter, but all who had the opportunity to play for the legendary coach.
"I'm very, very impressed, and I appreciate the athletics department recognizing Tex like this," said Weigel. "He's an icon. This is very well deserved." 
Celebrated in conjunction with the school's annual men's basketball Legends' Weekend, the unveiling of Tex Winter Drive took place on Saturday morning before K-State defeated Oklahoma State, 63-53, in Bramlage Coliseum. 
"I think it's about time, there's no doubt about that," said Roy DeWitz, a 2013 member of the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame who had a successful career playing for Winter from 1956-58. "Tex spent 16 years here and made the department a national prominence. I'm so glad they have a Tex Winter Drive now."
On Friday evening, Winter's former players had the opportunity to visit with their coach and their teammates at a special banquet hosted by the K-State basketball team. 
Thirteen of Winter's former players came out for the weekend's festivities, making for a special reunion for all. Smiles and laughter filled the Basketball Training Facility as the players and their coach shared memories and reminisced back to their days at K-State. 
"Tex Winter is a very special person. He had such insight," said Max Moss, who played for Winter from 1960-64 and was a member of the 1964 Final Four team. "He was ahead of his time as far as being able to analyze and develop offenses as we later found out with the triangle. He really put Kansas State University on the map. Being here tonight, this really brings back memories." 
The banquet on Friday evening was just the beginning of an exciting weekend for the legendary K-State basketball players. Along with the ceremony on Saturday morning, the group had breakfast together at the Ahearn Fund Student-Athlete Performance Table and was recognized at halftime of the game. 
"To see this group out here this morning, this is a real blessing," said Mr. K-State, Ernie Barrett, to the group of former players, family and fans gathered at the sign unveiling ceremony. "Coach Winter is in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the K-State University Sports Hall of Fame, and also the State of Kansas Hall of Fame. So coach, I don't know how many more hall of fames you will be able to be in!"
Everyone let out a laugh with Barrett's words. 
"I think what we're doing here today is indeed an honor for not only a great person, but someone who is very successful and well recognized with Kansas State University," Barrett continued. "Coach, I can't say enough nice things about you here this morning."
After Barrett spoke, Voice of the Wildcats Wyatt Thompson took the podium and said the words everyone had been waiting for. 
"On this 24th day of January, 2015, we are proud to dedicate this road that prominently leads to the Wildcats' Basketball Training Facility, let it ever be known as Tex Winter Drive," announced Thompson.
With that, Winter, Barrett and K-State Director of Athletics John Currie unveiled the new sign. All in attendance let out a cheer.
Tex Winter Drive is now forever a part of K-State history. Located just off of Kimball Avenue at Gate 7, the location and visibility of the new sign is a location many will pass and see daily. Every time this generation of Wildcat basketball players drive to practice, they will be reminded of a coach who paved the way for them. 
"To honor Coach Winter, that's something I pushed for," said head coach Bruce Weber after Saturday's game. "When you come into Bramlage, you have Jack Hartman Drive - one of the greatest coaches in program history - and now when you come to our practice facility you've got Tex Winter Drive. Both of them are special to, not only K-State, but the history of collegiate basketball.
"Those guys paved the way for (my team)," continued Weber. "They didn't have the practice facility, the charter flights. They didn't have that stuff, so we're all taking the benefit of what those other guys did in the past."
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Now, back to that triangle birthday cake. 
Weigel has been bringing Winter triangle birthday cakes for years - he said he can't remember exactly how many - but this year, on February 22, when Winter turns 93, he will bring his old coach another one.
It's the least he can do for a man who means so much to him. 
But it was clear this weekend that Weigel is not the only person who thinks still fondly of Winter. Over the weekend, numerous stories and thoughts were shared about Winter from his former players. 
Stay tuned because those stories will be shared in tomorrow's K-State Sports Extra
K-State athletics director John Currie and former K-State standout Ernie Barrett watch as K-State coaching legend Tex Winter is honored during a ceremony to dedicate Tex Winter Drive outside of the K-State Basketball Training Facility in Manhattan, Kansas on January 24, 2015. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
 

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