Archive for March, 2013

In April of 2003, Roy Williams made a controversial decision in the eyes of Kansas fans, leaving to take the head coaching job back home at North Carolina after serving in the same role in Lawrence for the previous 15 seasons.

Fresh off an emotionally devastating loss to Syracuse in the national title game in which Williams was adamant about shrugging off rumors that he was departing, Williams bolted within a week.

Both parties have benefitted from the change, with Kansas winning a national title and North Carolina claiming two of their own since then.

Bill Self is the new man in charge on Naismith Drive and has built a model of consistency that even Roy Williams himself couldn’t eclipse during his time in Lawrence, winning 300 games in just ten seasons while claiming the Big 12 regular season title for 9 years in a row and counting.

Jayhawk fans have moved on since then, putting everything into perspective.

“Roy showed that he is past his prime as a coach,” said Nate Milburn, a University of Kansas graduate. “But he has tremendous class and as KU fan, I wish him well. I don’t have a grudge against him anymore.”

Williams had plenty of teams in his tenure at Kansas that came extremely close to winning it all. 1991, 1993, 2002 and the aforementioned 2003 were the years that he led the Jayhawks to the Final Four, while 1997 was a year that Kansas was favored to cut down the nets entering the NCAA Tournament.

However, it’s not unanimous among Kansas fans that Williams would have won a national title by now if he had stayed at Kansas.

“No, I don’t think he would have. His coaching style just seemed to get us only so far, said Collin Myers, a diehard Kansas fan who attends the University of Oklahoma. “He’s definitely offensive minded, and defense wins championships. Bill’s teams have been aggressive and force opponents to take bad shots.”

In the four meetings between the two coaches in the NCAA Tournament, Self has won all of them, dating back to 2001 when Self was at Illinois and Williams was still at Kansas.

When Kansas won the national championship in 2008, they had to get past Williams’ Tar Heels in the semifinal, dominating from start to finish.

Last season in the Elite Eight, the Jayhawks pulled away in the final three minutes to defeat North Carolina and secure a spot in the Final Four.

Finally, Bill Self’s squad put the icing on the cake with a 70-58 victory Sunday in Kansas City. Williams built a 9 point lead at the half, but the game slipped away in the 2nd half.

“I believe Bill has Roy’s number because he gets his teams prepared better and recruits better players from top to bottom,” said Steven Mowry, who has grown up as a lifelong Jayhawk fan.

Williams is known for wearing his emotions on his sleeve. That was on full display in postgame interviews, when he had tears in his eyes as he normally does after a season-ending loss in the NCAA Tournament.

“He is a bit too emotional, which is a liability in sports, but he is a legend,” Milburn said.

Williams has publicly stated that the 15 years he spent at Kansas were some of the greatest of his life. He was seen sporting a sticker with a Jayhawk logo on it at the 2008 national title game.

“He’s a fantastic coach,” Myers said. “As odd as it seems, since he’s been at Carolina, I feel like the one team he’s okay with losing to is Kansas.”

Whether he is booed or cheered, there’s a shared sentiment among the Kansas fanbase as a whole regarding Williams.

“He still has a lot of respect for KU and I think most of us fans do for him as well,” Mowry said. “If our program fell off for a few years, we would blame Roy, but I think we got a better coach when he left.”

When Andrea Geubelle first came to the University of Kansas four years ago, a team indoor track and field Big 12 championship seemed out of the question.

The program has come a long way since then, with the Kansas women claiming their first ever Big 12 title on March 24th.

“We made history,” Geubelle said. “Fifteen years from now, we’ll look back at future championships and know that we got it started for KU track. It took so much work on the womens’ part and all the coaches to put it all together. Four years ago, it was all an individual competition.”

She said the pressure is hard, but that it’s also fun to know that her teammates are counting on her. She and her teammates went into the final round at the Big 12 championships with a commanding lead.

Geubelle and the rest of the team had a short week to ready for indoor nationals, where the team placed second in the NCAA this past Saturday in Fayetteville, Ark, the same result as last season. The Jayhawks finished just 12 points behind the national champion Oregon Ducks.

She claimed the long jump and triple jump titles, becoming just the fourth woman in 30 years to win two NCAA Indoor Championship titles. She jumped 14.18 meters in the triple jump, merely two inches behind the indoor American record.

Success is a great feeling for everyone, including non-athletes and non-coaches. It makes for an enjoyable experience.

“Working with the track and field teams has been a blast, not just because I get to watch some of the best athletes in the nation every week, but because I get to work with and build relationships with some outstanding people,” said Brad Gilbert, communications assistant at Kansas. “The student-athletes and coaches here at KU are second to none and make my job so much more enjoyable.”

Geubelle has also received tremendous individual accolades.  The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (UTFCCCA) has named Geubelle the Midwest region’s female field athlete of the year.

The association has also named her coach, Wayne Pate, the regional women’s assistant coach of the year.

Pate is the reason the Washington-native chose to attend Kansas.

“Coach Pate had everything I wanted in a coach,” Geubelle said. “He’s an amazing coach. I have family in Kansas, which helped my decision, but Coach Pate had me from day one with the way he handled previous athletes.”

Geubelle re-iterated that the results do the talking for her coach.

“He has the No. 1 and 2 long jumpers and No. 2 triple jumpers heading into nationals,” Geubelle said. “I think the numbers speak for themselves, the rewards and accolades. I’ve never had a coach who has guided me so well, and it’s just awesome to know that you always have that.”

Geubelle was also was named a First Team All-American in two events for the second time in as many years. This marks the tenth All-American honor in her career.

Geubelle’s hope is to go professional after this year, and while she will miss going to school at Kansas, she’s excited to take the next step and devote all of her time to track.

When Andrea Geubelle first came to the University of Kansas four years ago, a team indoor track and field Big 12 championship seemed out of the question.

The program has come a long way since then, claiming its first ever Big 12 title.

“We made history. 15 years from now, we’ll look back at future championships and know that we got it started for KU track,” Geubelle said. “It took so much work on the womens’ part and all the coaches to put it all together. Four years ago, it was all an individual competition.”

Geubelle, a 2012 national champion and first team All-American horizontal jumper who claimed her second straight triple jump Big 12 championship, gives the credit to her coach, Wayne Pate.

“He has the #1 and 2 long jumpers and #2 triple jumpers heading into nationals. I think the numbers speak for themselves, the rewards and accolades,” Geubelle said. “I’ve never had a coach who has guided me so well, and it’s just awesome to know that you always have that.”

The duo received some major awards this past week from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Geubelle was named the Midwest region’s female field athlete of the year, while Pate was the recipient of the regional women’s assistant coach of the year.

Pate is the reason she chose to go to Kansas as a native of the far away state of Washington.

“Coach Pate had everything I wanted in a coach,” Geubelle said. “He’s an amazing coach. I have family in Kansas, which helped my decision, but Coach Pate had me from day 1 with the way he handled previous athletes.”

Geubelle says pressure is hard, but also fun to know that her teammates are counting on her. She went into the final day at the Big 12 championships with a commanding lead.

Success is a great feeling for everyone, including non-athletes and non-coaches. It makes for an enjoyable experience.

“Working with the track and field teams has been a blast, not just because I get to watch some of the best athletes in the nation every week, but because I get to work with and build relationships with some outstanding people,” said Brad Gilbert, communications assistant at Kansas. “The student-athletes and coaches here at KU are second to none and make my job so much more enjoyable.”

Geubelle’s hope is to go professional after this year, and while she will miss going to school at Kansas, she’s excited to take the next step and devote all of her time to track.

However, her work as a college athlete is not done yet.

As she and the rest of the track team get ready for nationals, they look to continue to prepare the same way they have to get to this point.

Geubelle, along with those who qualify, will be competing in Fayetteville, Ark. this Friday and Saturday at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

She says she is looking forward to this weekend and was quick to not let anyone look past her teammates.

“We had so many Big 12 titles that every one of those girls should be attributed for that, and I don’t think anyone deserves recognition more than another,” Geubelle said.”There’s so much more to this team than just me and Diamond (Dixon). I think it will show up at the NCAAs for sure.”