K-State Honors Tex Winter | Part 2

The two would head for the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains where Winter hosted a basketball camp every summer.
"I worked two summers out at a camp in the Rocky Mountains," said Moss at the K-State Legends Weekend reunion in the Basketball Training Facility. "He had a basketball camp out there, so I worked as a camp counselor for two summers between my freshman and my junior year. I got to know him on a different level than just my coach; he became a very, very good friend of mine. He means a lot to me."
Moss played for K-State from 1960-64. He was a member of the 1964 Wildcat squad that made it to the Final Four and saw three Big 8 Champions during his time at K-State. 
"During the three years I was eligible, as a sophomore we were conference champions, then we were co-champions then we were champions again, and I was on the team that went to the Final Four," said Moss before glancing across the room, pointing at Winter and shifting conversation to talk about his old coach. "Tex Winter is a very special person; he just had such insight. He was ahead of his time as far as being able to analyze and develop offenses as we later found out with the triangle offense."
Fondness, respect and good memories, that's something every conversation about Winter had in common over the weekend as numerous former Wildcats got together to celebrate K-State's Legends Weekend in conjunction with the unveiling of the brand-new Tex Winter Drive last Saturday.  
"Tex, following Jack Gardner, really put Kansas State University on the map," continued Moss. 
Starting out his basketball career as an assistant for legendary head coach Jack Gardner, Winter was an assistant coach at K-State from 1947-51.
"Back in 1947, I was Tex Winter's first recruit, and he's been sorry ever since," laughed Mr. K-State, Ernie Barrett, as he spoke to the group of Wildcat Legends, family and friends at the unveiling ceremony. "Coach, I can't say enough nice things about you here this morning. 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."
Taking over as the Wildcats' head coach in 1953, he became the most successful coach in K-State men's basketball history in his 15 years at the helm of the program.
"We have kept in good touch over the years, especially because I was involved with coaching," said Winter's former player and 2013 K-State Sports Hall of Fame inductee Roy DeWitz. "The nice thing about it is that he still remembers you. I was on his very first championship team with Jack Parr. At Parr's funeral last week, I said, 'Tex Winter was the greatest thing that ever happened to us. He took two kids who were a sight unseen - Jack Parr and Roy DeWitz - and wasn't sure they could play, but after four years he didn't want to trade us.'"
DeWitz played for K-State from 1955-58 and was a member of Winter's first team to make it to a Final Four in 1959. After his time as a player at K-State, DeWitz began a coaching career of his own, starting with six years as the head coach at Manhattan High School before spending three seasons as an assistant coach for Winter at K-State. 
"I was the basketball coach at Manhattan High right after I got out of K-State, and our teams were successful," said DeWitz. "The reason they were was because the basic fundamentals Tex taught me and our system of play. It's just as good today as it was then."
Everyone has a special story about Coach Winter. You may have read in yesterday's K-State Sports Extra, K-State Honors Winter | Part 1, (a more in depth look at the Tex Winter Drive unveiling ceremony) that Larry Weigel, a letterwinner from 1962-66, brings Winter a triangular shaped birthday cake each and every year. This year, on February 22, Weigel will help Coach Winter celebrate his 93rd birthday with another triangle cake.  
While each player that stepped on the court for Coach Winter has their fair share of stories, they all also learned lessons from the unique, hard-working coach. The lessons learned from Winter differed depending on the player, but they were lessons that stuck with these Wildcats for life.
Here's a look at a few of the lifelong lessons Winter's players learned:
Frank Arnold, 1964-66: "The biggest lesson I learned from Tex was that accomplishment without effort is meaningless. I came to K-State as a junior college player, and, before K-State, I had floated through and gotten lots of awards and scholarship offers, but I ended up here and I was not allowed to rest on my past. I understood that lesson and it's served me well throughout my business career. It's been the forefront of my life. Reward without effort is meaningless." 
Phil Heitmeyer, 1959-62: "The teamwork. We had five guys that came in as freshmen then we went through and graduated together as seniors. They were all really good people thanks to him. Tex always recruited good people, and it was an honor to play for someone like that." 
Larry Weigel, 1962-66: "Tex has been a great influence on my life. We remained in touch all these years. I think that he's a down to earth, very humble man. He's a coach that Michael Jordan praised as one of the best of all the coaches he'd ever had. But whether you're Michael Jordan or the parking lot attendant, Tex treats people all the same. That's a trade about him I respected. He's a great role model and a great coach."
Max Moss, 1960-64: "I learned from him that you can come back from disappointments and you just have to have perseverance. You have to understand that there are going to be ups and downs. Going through basketball, it's kind of like the microcosms of life. You learn victories; you learn defeat. You learn how to handle yourself. It was a great opportunity to grow as a person and develop relationships. Another thing he imparted to us was he always played by the rules. That's the way the game's played. He just was a great mentor."
Roy DeWitz, 1955-58: "I guess I'd have to say he taught me to control of my emotions more than anything else. I don't think I did a great job of it, but he constantly harped at me because I was the kind of guy who would probably go into the stands and hit somebody. He had to control me, so I guess probably my emotions was probably the greatest thing he taught me. Plus, I coached for 13 years, so his system of play and the way in which he taught kids how to play basketball, I took that into coaching."
Former K-State men's basketball players are honored during a halftime ceremony at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas on January 24, 2015. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
K-State Sports Extra, extra:
I would like to send a big "thanks" to Tex for the many memories I have from my days as a student at K-State. 
I attended Rozel High School from 1962-1965. Our tiny high school was very much a basketball school, and I lettered all four years of high school. As I entered my senior year, I began to consider which college I wanted to attend. I heard a lot about what Coach Winter and the K-State team were doing nationally. I clearly remember all the news when K-State and Wichita State were both nationally ranked and made the Final Four. That put K-State on my college radar screen.
As a senior in high school I attended my first K-State basketball game in Ahearn Field House, and I was hooked. After that, I never missed a basketball game. I was one of those many students who stood in line for hours to get onto the midcourt seating.
Tex Winter and his teams gave me so many fantastic student-fan experiences during that 1965-1966 season when I was a freshman, and through the remainder of my time at K-State. Those are games and experiences I will never forget. I followed Tex throughout his career and proudly have a copy of Ann Parr's Coach Tex Winter: Triangle Basketball on my bookshelf. 
Coach Winter should know and always remember the positive impact he had on so very many of us when we were students at K-State during his years as our head coach.
Thanks Coach Winter and Go 'Cats,
Richard D. Latas, Class of 1969

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