Category Archives: KCAC

Sunflower Slate turns 5: THE COACHES

“The dead have come to take the living. The dead in winding-sheets, the regimented dead on horseback, the skeleton that plays a hurdy-gurdy …. Thomson is out in center field now dodging fans who come in rushes and jumps. They jump against his body, they want to take him to the ground, show him snapshots of their families.” 

-Don DeLillo, “Underworld” 

Sunflower Slate’s three-day birthday celebration is at its end — I wrote about the five most memorable games on Wednesday, five most memorable players on Thursday and I’m capping things off with the five most memorable coaches today. Again, these aren’t my favorites, necessarily, but the most memorable.


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Sunflower Slate turns 5: THE PLAYERS

“When Boobie Miles returned to the football field, no one called out his name with those bellowing chants that had rocked the Watermelon Feed in a moment that seemed like a millennium before. There were no bursts of applause, no coach’s speech comparing him to the great Permian runners of the past, no take-your-sweet-time walk down the aisle of the crowded high school cafeteria. In the space of five weeks he had become an afterthought whose past performance earned no special privilege and seemed largely forgotten.” 

-H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger, “Friday Night Lights”

I’m continuing with our three-part series today celebrating Sunflower Slate turning 5 years old. Yesterday I did the 5 most memorable games, today I’ll continue with the 5 most memorable players I’ve covered. This was, by far, the hardest list to narrow down of the three, and I went back over five years of blog posts and stories. Not all of these athletes were All-Americans, necessarily, but they each had stories that stuck with me for different reasons.

Tomorrow, we’ll finish things off with the coaches.

Here you go:

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Sunflower Slate turns 5: THE GAMES

“…if sportswriting teaches you anything, and there is much truth to it as well as plenty of lies, it is that for your life to be worth anything you must sooner or later face the possibility of terrible, searing regret. Though you must also manage to avoid it or your life will be ruined. I believe I have done these two things. Faced down regret. Avoided ruin. And I am still here to tell about it.” 

-Richard Ford, “The Sportswriter” 

Sunflower Slate turned 5 years old last week, and I thought in honor of its birthday I’d take a look back at the last five years and the most memorable games, players and coaches I’ve covered over that time.

When I go back and read some of my posts from years past, sometimes I cringe (I really, really needed to chill with the LOST references), sometimes I laugh (I have an unhealthy obsession with movie trailers) and all of the time I’m thankful. This hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been a blast.

We’ll do games today, players tomorrow and coaches on Friday.

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Saturday’s MIAA, Jayhawk and KCAC football scores


No. 17 Tabor 21, No. 10 MidAmerica Nazarene 13 FINAL

Sterling 42, Culver-Stockton 30 FINAL

No. 15 Baker 41, Saint Mary 40 FINAL

Avila 41, Bethany 14 FINAL

Kansas Wesleyan 38, No. 22 Evangel 28 FINAL

No. 24 Benedictine 28, Friends 15 FINAL

No. 18 Ottawa 20, No. 2 Missouri Valley 6 FINAL best regular-season win in Kessinger era?

Peru State 44, Southwestern 21 FINAL

Central Methodist 38, Bethel 31 FINAL

McPherson 34, Graceland 0 FINAL


Washburn 54, Fort Hays State 17 FINAL

Missouri Southern 17, Northeastern State 14 FINAL

Lincoln 47, Grambling State 34 FINAL

No. 3 Northwest Missouri 28, Central Missouri 24 FINAL

No. 16 Pittsburg State 65, Central Oklahoma 24 FINAL

Lindenwood (1-0, 1-0) at Southwest Baptist (0-1, 0-0), 6 p.m.

No. 6 Missouri Western 63, Missouri S&T 3 FINAL


No. 11 Hutchinson (2-1, 2-0) at Dodge City 40, No. 11 Hutchinson 34 FINAL/OT … biggest Jayhawk upset since Highland beat Butler?

No. 4 Butler 79, Independence 0 FINAL

Coffeyville 62, Fort Scott 39 FINAL



MIAA, Jayhawk, KCAC football previews

We dropped our monster football section today — in print and at — and as always, there was a large state/junior college presence. That means features, conference capsules and pics from the MIAA, Jayhawk Conference, KCAC and even looks at the HAAC schools in Kansas. Here’s a rundown of what we cooked up, with lots and lots of links:

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KCAC Media Day

The KCAC’s 10 teams brought out their head coaches for Media Day on Wednesday in Old Town in Wichita — the first time the event has been outside of Salina in a couple of decades. Here’s short breakdowns of what the coaches said, and this: 

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The five best small-college football coaches in Kansas

When it comes to football, the Sunflower Slate/small-college beat encompasses, primarily, four schools from the NCAA Division II MIAA (Fort Hays State, Pittsburg State, Washburn, Emporia State), 10 schools from the NAIA-based KCAC (Friends, Tabor, Bethany, McPherson, Ottawa, Southwestern, Sterling, Bethel, Kansas Wesleyan, Saint Mary) and eight schools from the NJCAA-based Jayhawk Conference (Butler, Hutchinson, Independence, Garden City, Dodge City, Coffevyille, Highland, Fort Scott).

So that’s the framework for what I’ve done here, which is rank the Top 5 football coaches from those schools. I owe a big tip of the hat to Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel, who did something similar last week. Although Mandel did a Top 10 and Bottom 5 for Division I, which I won’t do, because making a Bottom 5 seems somewhat unfair to these coaches because their budgets and facilities are so vastly different, whereas with Mandel’s picks, those guys are all playing on a (somewhat) even playing field.

This Top 5 isn’t based on lifetime achievement (see Friends’ Monty Lewis not making the list) but instead on who the five best coaches are right now. A good track record over the last 2-3 seasons is the key, but the overall body of work is definitely taken into account.

So here you go:

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Catching up with the MIAA, KCAC, Jayhawk and Newman


Apologies for my absence — I’ve been gone the last 3 weeks as part of The Eagle’s NCAA Tournament coverage team, which we all know by now took a pretty wild turn when Wichita State ended up in the Final Four for the first time since 1965. I spent a week in Kansas City with K-State and KU, the next week in Dallas with KU and finally to Atlanta with the Shockers.

But now I’m back, so let’s take a look at some of what I missed while I was gone:

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Beyond the Cutline: Mac Madness


“Mac Madness” 

Cutline: McPherson’s Kasey Miller shows the student fans the championship trophy after the Bulldogs defeated Sterling College 87-80 in the 2013 KCAC Championship at Hartman Arena Tuesday night.

Beyond the Cutline: Just a great job by Fernando of capturing the emotions of McPherson’s improbable run to the KCAC title and a fourth straight NAIA Division II Tournament berth. The improbability of the Bulldogs winning the tourney … they barely made it in the tourney, y’all. Here’s Taylor Eldridge’s game story from Tuesday night, which includes a link to a photo gallery from Fernando. The shot of Miller ran on the front of our Wednesday sports section.

Fernando Salazar: By the time the game is over, you already have an idea of which players or coaches are the ones that are really showing emotion and might make for some good shots. You try to find the one or two guys you know might deliver, but in this case as soon as the game was over and they were passing around the trophy, I was just following whoever had it and (Miller) went over to the fans

Kasey Miller: We’d been through so much adversity this year that at the moment the picture was taken I was just so happy, which I think you can tell, and just grateful to be a part of this team and with this particular group of guys that did this. I’m from Derby, so the picture running in my hometown paper was pretty cool, and I’ve kind of felt like a celebrity since it came out because a lot of people have been approaching me and saying stuff about the shot. My mom came into work on Wednesday morning in Derby and all the people she works with were telling her about it and she sent me a picture of the paper. It was the end of a crazy week of basketball for us, and like I said I’m just glad I got to be around this group of guys and this team.



All about KCAC basketball


Two big happenings in the KCAC this week – All-KCAC picks are out and KCAC Tournament quarterfinals begin Friday.

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