Four Wildcats, one Jayhawk set for Kansas Sports Hall of Fame enshrinement

Matt Galloway
Former Kansas State football and Green Bay Packers star wide receiver Jordy Nelson, right, will be one of four former Wildcats inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame this year, the organization announced Wednesday.

Four former Wildcats and one former Jayhawk highlight a star-studded Class of 2020 set for enshrinement in the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (KSHOF).

Kansas State football standouts Jordy Nelson, Terence Newman and Darren Sproles — all native Kansans — will join fellow Wildcat product and Olympian Steve Fritz, as well as former Kansas men’s basketball star Drew Gooden in the 10-athlete class set for induction at the Oct. 4 ceremony at Kansas Star Casino in Wichita, the KSHOF announced Wednesday.

Other inductees will include Olympic heptathlete and Wichita East product Kym Carter Begel; former Wichita State baseball standout and 13-year MLB veteran Casey Blake; former Emporia State track athlete and five-time shot put national champion Heather Leverington Dotterer; nine-year NBA veteran and Wichita native Adrian Griffin; and 1964 Olympic bronze medalist in men’s trapshooting and Russell native Bill Morris.

Here is more information on each inductee:

• Nelson, a former three-sport athlete at Riley County High School, won five state track championships before walking on for the K-State football team. With the Wildcats, Nelson set single-game records for receptions (15) and receiving yards (214) and for season receiving yards (1,606) and season yards per game (133.8). Nelson won Super Bowl XLV with the Green Bay Packers, the highlight of an 11-season NFL career that concluded with 613 receptions, 8,587 receiving yards and 72 touchdown receptions.

• Newman starred in four sports for Salina Central, where he was a three-time state champion in track. He was a two-time All-Conference selection for the Wildcat football team (2001, '02) and in 2002 was named Big 12 defensive player of the year and captured the Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation's top defensive back. Drafted fifth overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2003 NFL Draft, Newman enjoyed a 15-year NFL run and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in a career that finished with 42 interceptions, 183 passes defended, 11 fumble recoveries and 879 total tackles.

• Sproles rounds out the K-State football trio, the former Olathe North star earning an All-American selection at running back in 2003. He set school single-game school records rushing attempts (43) and yardage (292), a season rushing yardage record (1,986) and career rushing attempts (815) and yardage (4,979). Sproles finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting in 2003 and was later selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, where he began a 14-year NFL career that included 3,552 rushing yards, 23 rushing touchdowns, 4,840 receiving yards, 32 receiving touchdowns, seven punt return touchdowns and two kickoff return touchdowns.

• Fritz was a three-time state track champion at Southeast of Saline and a two-time NJCAA national champion at Hutchinson Community College (men's basketball, decathlon) before arriving at K-State, where he played men's basketball for Lon Kruger and was a two-time All-American decathlete (1989, '90). Fritz won two conference championships in decathlon with the Wildcats and finished fourth in decathlon at the 1996 Olympics.

• Gooden, a native of Richmond, Calif., was the NABC national player of the year (2002), a first-team All-American ('02) and a two-time All-Big 12 pick (2001, '02) during his three-year Jayhawk men's basketball career. His efforts led KU to a Big 12 championship and Final Four berth in 2002, and he became only the second player in school history to total at least 1,500 points, 900 rebounds, 100 blocks and 100 steals for his career. He was picked No. 4 overall in the 2002 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies and played 14 seasons in the NBA, posting totals of 8,653 points, 896 assists, 544 steals, 474 blocks and 5,618 rebounds in 790 career games.

• Carter Begel was a three-time state high jump champion with Wichita East and set the national high jump record (6'2.25") in 1982, which remains the record in Kansas. She continued her career collegiately at Houston and LSU, where she was a five-time All-American pick — she won four Southwest Conference titles at Houston and was a two-time Southeast Conference champion at LSU. A three-time USATF Heptathlete of the Year, Carter Begel finished third at the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials in the heptathlon and 11th at the 1992 Olympics in heptathlon.

• Blake, who earned three All-America nods with the Shockers, was named Missouri Valley Conference MVP in 1996. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1996 and put together a 13-year MLB career that featured a .264 career batting average and 1,186 hits, 167 home runs and 616 RBI.

• Leverington Dotterer, a Flint Hills High School alumnus, earned two national outdoor shot put titles (1999, 2001) and three consecutive indoor championships (1999-'01) while with Emporia State. She finished ninth in the 2000 U.S. Olympic trials and was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007.

• Griffin, who led Wichita East basketball to the 1992 state championship, starred at Seton Hall before kick-starting a nine-year NBA career. He averaged 4.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists across 477 career games and won the 2019 NBA championship as an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors.

• Morris won the U.S. Junior Trapshooting All-Around Championship in 1956, one year before his graduation from Russell High School. The former Oklahoma Sooner tied the world record in international skeet with 297 out of 300 in 1963 and won a bronze medal in men's trapshooting at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Former Kansas men's basketball standout Drew Gooden, middle, will be inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame during the organization's Oct. 4 ceremony at Kansas State Casino in Wichita, the KSHOF announced Wednesday.