SE: Hall of Fame Spotlight | Steve Anson

On Jan. 29, K-State Athletics honored a group of 10 outstanding individuals with their induction into the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame. This group marks the 11th class in school history and was honored at an induction ceremony before being recognized at halftime of the men’s basketball win against Ole Miss in Bramlage Coliseum on Jan. 30. Stay tuned to the K-State Sports Extra throughout the next few weeks for more stories on each of this year’s K-State Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees. 

When Dave Anson was six years old, his older brother, Steve, signed to play baseball at K-State. It was a 13-hour drive from the Anson’s hometown of Mishawaka, Indiana, to Manhattan, Kansas. However, despite the distance, Dave became an instant Wildcat fan because of his brother.

Dave followed Steve’s career closely and cheered all the way from Mishawaka as Steve went on to become one of the greatest hitters in K-State baseball history.

“I was six when Steve came to K-State, so through him, K-State has left quite an impact on me,” said Dave. “I probably still hold the record in Indiana for most consecutive days wearing purple; I think it was about 180 days, I don’t think anyone else has broken that yet.”

Dave let out a laugh as he reminisced on those happy days. Dave has loved K-State for a long time and, after his most recent trip back to Manhattan to celebrate his brother, he now loves the university even more.

Dave was back in Manhattan to celebrate Steve’s induction into the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame. However, instead of Steve on the podium accepting the honor, Dave stepped up to make a speech on his brother’s behalf.

On June 22, 2014, Steve Anson was killed tragically in a tree-trimming accident at his home in Topeka, Kansas. He was 60 years old.

Steve was a four-year starter at K-State (1973-76) and is a member of K-State baseball’s 21-man All-Century team. He led the Cats in batting average every season he played at K-State as he never hit below .333 in any of his four seasons. He also led the team in triples four times, in RBI and doubles twice and in home runs in 1975. Steve still holds the K-State record for career triples (19) and is among the school’s top-10 for career slugging percentage (.561). In 1974, he earned the Big Eight’s batting title after helping the Wildcats to finish second in the league.

Steve graduated from K-State cum lade in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education.

“It’s very bittersweet,” said Steve’s wife, Dena, with tears in her eyes before the induction ceremony. “I think this (Hall of Fame induction) would be Steve’s biggest honor because he just loved K-State. He loved the college; he loved his team. I really think many of the values he took into coaching were because of K-State.”

Following his Wildcat career, Steve spent two years as a graduate assistant coach at K-State before heading to Washburn University where he would spend the rest of his career, 35 years, as the Ichabods’ head baseball coach. In his three decades at Washburn, Steve coached a total of 1,645 games and went 844-798-3 (a .520 record).

“Steve was a leader,” his former teammate Scott Mach (1975-78) said. “He actually coached some of us; he was a junior when I was a freshman, so I played with him my freshman and sophomore year, then he was a grad assistant my junior and senior year. He was just one of the nicest guys you could ever be around.”

The day of Steve’s Hall of Fame induction, his former teammates, assistant coaches, players and friends came together for a reunion. Nearly 30 Wildcat baseball players from the 1970s gathered together in the West Stadium Center at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and celebrated Steve’s life.

“It is kind of bittersweet, but it’s great because he would just love something like this,” continued Mach. “He’d love a party like this. We have a great turnout. There are a lot of war stories; it’s pretty cool. It’s been a really good reunion of baseball players because we have so many guys back together and some of us haven’t seen each other since 1978.”

Since Steve’s death, K-State Athletics has been there for the Anson family and for Steve’s former teammates. From his Hall of Fame induction to the reunion of his former teammates, Steve’s memory has been kept alive at his alma mater.

“When we came out for his memorial (in June 2014), prior to that trip, I emailed Mr. (John) Currie and got a response right away,” explained Dave. “They set up a little tour, it was about a four-hour tour and we got to meet a lot of people in the administration offices who knew Steve. The red carpet was rolled out for me, this guy from Indiana, the little brother, no less. It spoke about what K-State is about.”

With his recent induction into the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame, Steve Anson is now a member of an exclusive group of Wildcats and will forever be a part of K-State history.

So, though bittersweet, his induction was a time of celebration for the entire Anson family – especially his little brother, Dave.

“There were a lot of offers and a lot of opportunities for him out of high school – he wasn’t only a great athlete but he was a great student as well,” explained Dave. “He probably could have punched his ticket playing baseball at a lot of places, but it I’m glad that he punched it here.”

See links below for previous K-State Sports Extra Hall of Fame Spotlights: 
Click here for K-State track and field start Connie Teaberry’s story
Click here for K-State volleyball star Dawn Cady’s story
Click here for Part One of K-State basketball dynamic duo Nicole Ohlde and Kendra Wecker’s story. Click here for Part Two.
Click here for former Voice of the Wildcats Mitch Holthus’ story.

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Kelly McHugh-Stewart, or K-State Associate AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.