Category Archives: Newman

Top 10 stories of 2013

Cowley College won its second NJCAA D2 volleyball championship in three years in October.

Cowley College won its second NJCAA D2 volleyball championship in three years in October.

There wasn’t one story that blew all the others out of the water in the state/juco ranks this year, where in 2012 it seemed like it was just one after another. Still, there were a lot of stories that turned heads, including one that continued over from 2012.

Here’s my Top 10 stories for 2013:

Read More »

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.


Read More »

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:

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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:

Read More »

Top 10 stories of 2012


1. Brandon Brown

Tabor College defensive lineman Brandon Brown was found beaten, unconscious and unresponsive outside of a house party in McPherson in the early-morning hours of Sept. 16. He died six days later in a Wichita hospital and two former McPherson College football players have been charged with murder in the case. An eyewitness account of that night paints a gruesome picture.


2. Butler football loses in NJCAA title game

Butler Community College’s football team lost in the NJCAA championship game for the second time in three years, falling 27-7 to Iowa Western in the Graphic Edge Bowl in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Grizzlies didn’t have arguably their top offensive player in West Virginia-bound running back Dreamius Smith (broken collarbone), and starting quarterback Billy Cosh was knocked out on the final play of the first half while trying to make a touchdown-saving tackle … but I’m not sure having both of them for the entire game would’ve mattered. This was the Reivers’ year.

3. McPherson’s historic run to the NAIA D2 Final Four

Sometimes, a good coach does make all the difference. In four years, McPherson College men’s coach Tim Swartzendruber has engineered one of the most amazing runs in KCAC history and made it all the way to the NAIA Division II Final Four this year, where the Bulldogs fell to Northwood (Fla.) and former Villanova coach Rollie Massimino. Swartzendruber’s teams have been to the NAIA Tournament three years in a row, a first in KCAC history.

4. Cowley volleyball comes up short in bid for back-to-back national titles

The Cowley volleyball team entered the NJCAA Division II championship game 38-0 and the defending national champion but lost to Grand Rapids 25-20, 25-23, 26-24. Cowley has two national runner-ups and one title in four years under coach Jennifer Bahner.

5. Blue Dragon women fall in NJCAA championship game

For some reason, this was the year that teams from Kansas kept coming up short – specifically three from the Jayhawk Conference that made it to national championship games before losing. In another incredible twist,  Butler football, Cowley volleyball and Hutchinson women’s basketball were all undefeated before their losses in the title game.  The Blue Dragons, coached by John Ontjes, were 36-0 before losing to top-seeded Trinity Valley in Salina.

6. Jaime Green quits

Newman women’s basketball coach Jaime Green’s incredibly successful – and controversial – two-year stint as the women’s basketball coach of the Jets came to an end when she surprised Newman athletic director Vic Trilli with her resignation in March in order to take a job as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Missouri Southern. The Jets eventually hired former New Mexico State coach Darrin Spence to take over for Green.

7. Butler opens new stadium

In a big, big way – $12 million well spent.  The opening of BG Products Veterans Sports Complex in El Dorado ended a decade-long saga of a town and a school fighting over how to showcase their most bankable product — the Butler Community College football team. With Coffeyville’s Veterans Memorial Stadium and Hutchinson’s Gowans Stadium also housing teams in the Jayhawk, you have a league with facilities that rival most NCAA Division II conferences.

8. Cordarrelle Patterson signs with Tennessee

Former Coffeyville football coach Dick Foster coached the only Heisman Trophy winner ever to come out of the Jayhawk Conference — Nebraska running back Mike Rozier — and even he thought Patterson might be the best player to ever come out of the celebrated junior-college league. The Hutchinson Community College wide receiver/returner is likely headed to the NFL after one season at Tennessee. 

Even in the Jayhawk, where schools pump out D1 and NFL players ever year, Patterson’s recruitment was a wild ride.

9. What’s a taxi squad?

One of the more controversial rule changes to hit Jayhawk football in recent memory came when the league decided to include taxi squads to their rosters this year,  meaning each of the eight schools could keep four extra out-of-state players on the roster to play in non-conference and bowl games … and making the 12 out-of-staters that school’s have had to traditionally pick before the season and stick with even through injuries a flexible thing – coaches could change out those spots week-to-week.

10. Pittsburg State’s collapse

What in the world happened to the Gorillas? The defending NCAA Division II football champions were ranked No. 1 into the middle of October and then…

What will become of the senior year for John Brown and Nate Dreiling, two almost sure-fire PSU Hall of Famers? I can’t wait to find out.

Thanks for reading.


Weekend Wrapup: Newman/Bobby Wesley, Ryan Schraeder, Craig Nicholson, Hutchinson CC men stay perfect


Lots of stuff going on over the weekend – thought this might be a good primer to show you a few of the highlights:

-Newman is 8-0: The Newman men improved to 8-0 over the weekend, setting up a big, big game Saturday in Wichita against No. 2 Washburn. The Jets beat William Jewell on Saturday night 86-84 behind some late-game heroics from senior guard Bobby Wesley, who scored 7 points … with 5 coming in the last two minutes on a three-pointer and a 12-foot jumper with 2.5 seconds left that won the game.

-Ryan Schraeder: The former Butler Community College All-American offensive tackle is back playing for the national championship – this time on the NCAA Division II level with Valdosta State. The Blazers beat Minnesota State-Mankato 35-19 on Saturday in Mankato, and will face Winston-Salem State for the title. More good news for Schraeder – he was named a D2 1st team All-American for the second time and he had a feature written about him in the Wichita Eagle. Schraeder is moving up draft boards as we speak – here’s a link to his Twitter account @RyanSchraeder78 – Pittsburg State wide receiver John Brown and former Washburn cornerback Pierre Desir, now at Lindenwood, were also named to the first team.

-Craig Nicholson turning heads: Northwest product and Fort Hays State freshman point guard Craig Nicholson was named the MIAA player of the week on Monday (not the weekend, I know), but the 5-foot-8 playmaker is already showing that the Tigers scored a coup in signing him.

-And there’s Hutch: The Hutchinson Community College men’s basketball team improved to 14-0 over the weekend and are ranked No. 4 in the country. Brad Hallier of The Hutch News breaks it down for you. 

Talk to you soon -TA

College basketball previews/behind the stories


We put out our college basketball preview on Sunday, including features and capsules on the MIAA, KCAC, Jayhawk Conference and Newman. Here’s links to our stories and capsules plus a few behind-the-scenes bits on each story – click the name of the league for the jump to capsules – Newman women are a folo on the main feature:

Read More »

Newman’s Georgia Drewes wins USBC national bowling title

Eagle staff

Wichita State’s Geoffrey Young and Newman’s Georgia Drewes won titles at the USBC Intercollegiate Singles Championships on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.

The WSU men lost in the final of the Team Championships, falling to Webber International 2 1/2 – 1/2. Webber won the best-of-3 series 179-167, 203-203, 194-184.

In the men’s singles final, Young beat Midland’s Joe Steiner 245-191. Young opened with strikes in six of the first seven frames.

“This is unbelievable because not in a million years did I think singles would be on TV, and I would be the one winning it all,” Young was quoted as saying at “I was pretty nervous at first, but I calmed down and focused on what I needed to do.”

The event will by shown on tape on CBS Sports Network on May 4.

Young rolled a 242 in the semifinals to beat Calumet’s Anthony Fiorenzo.

Drewes beat Nebraska’s Elise Bolton 204-147 in the final, She reached the final by beating WSU’s Jazreel Tan 226-207 in the semifinals.

“I was more nervous when I was on the practice lanes, and I actually thought I would be sickly nervous when I got on the lanes, but it wasn’t too bad,” Drewes said. “My heart was beating pretty fast, but I just kept to my routine.”

Newman hires Darin Spence as women’s basketball coach



The Wichita Eagle

Newman has hired former New Mexico State and Barton Community College coach Darin Spence as its new women’s basketball program.

The school announced the hiring of Spence on Thursday afternoon.

Spence went 18-13 at Barton this season, his only year in Great Bend. He went 109-136 in eight years at New Mexico State.

Spence replaces Jaime Green at Newman after Green resigned earlier this month after two seasons to take an assistant coach position at Missouri Southern. Green led the Jets to their first NCAA Tournament berth and a Heartland Conference title this season.

Spence has extenive ties to Kansas – he began his coaching career at his alma mater, Marymount College in Salina, in 1987, then spent five seasons as the women’s coach at Butler Community College, two seasons as an assistant men’s coach at Cowley, two seasons as the men’s coach at Colby Community College and five seasons as the women’s coach at Cowley, where he won five Jayhawk East titles.

Spence’s best season at New Mexico State came in 2009-2010, when he went 25-9 and led the Aggies to the Women’s NIT.

“Darin will be an absolute great fit for Newman University,” Newman athletic director Vic Trilli said in a statement. “He has had success at every level of college basketball, including eight years (at Division I). He brings an experience factor and big-time family values that will provide some stability to our program.”

Reach Tony Adame at or 316-268-6284.