Several familiar names to fans of college sports in the Sunflower State head the list of the class of 2011 to be inducted this fall into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Headlining the class of 2011 are former Kansas Jayhawk basketball player Raef LaFrentz, former Kansas State football star Mark Simoneau and former Kansas State women's basketball player Kendra Wecker.
The other new inductees are former Kansas athletic director Bob Frederick and former KU basketball coach Dick Harp, former Wichita State football coach Willie Jeffries and former pitcher Don Heinkel, former Emporia State track and cross country runner John Camien and Ronnie West, former Pittsburg State football star.
LaFrentz was a four-year starter at Kansas (1994-1998) and a two-time consensus first-team All-American. He was Big 12 Player of the Year his senior season and ranks third all-time in scoring at Kansas. LaFrentz was the third pick overall in the 1998 NBA draft and played 11 seasons in the NBA with four different teams (Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics and Portland Trailblazers).
Simoneau was an All-State football star out of Smith Center and one of the best linebackers ever to play at Kansas State (1996-1999). He ranks third all-time at K-State in tackles. A runner-up for the Butkus Award as college football's best linebacker, Simoneau went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL with Atlanta, Philadelphia and New Orleans.
Wecker was a three-time first-team All-Big 12 selection while at Kansas State (2002-2005), and in 2005 was named Big 12 Player of the Year and a consensus first-team All-American. A multi-sport star in high school (Smith Center, Kan.), Wecker is considered by some to be the state's greatest all-around athlete.
Frederick was athletic director at Kansas from 1987-2001. During his time at Kansas, Jayhawk athletic teams won 32 conference championships. Frederick served on the NCAA basketball tournament selection committee (1992-1996) and was chairman of the committee in 1995 and 1996. The NCAA Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award annually recognizes an NCAA administrator who shows the highest respect for intercollegiate athletics. Frederick died tragically in 2009 from head injuries suffered while riding his bicycle.
Harp was head basketball coach at Kansas from 1956-1964. His 1957 team, which included the incomparable Wilt Chamberlain, finished second to North Carolina in a three-overtime game in the NCAA Championship. Harp served under Phog Allen from 1948-1956 and played guard on the Jayhawks' 1940 team that finished second in the NCAA Tournament.
Jeffries coached football for five years at Wichita State from 1979-1983 and compiled a career coaching record of 179-132-6. He was the first African-American at the Division I level to coach at Wichita State. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
Heinkel was one of the best pitchers ever to play baseball at Wichita State. He set an NCAA record with 51 wins at the school from 1979-1982. He went to the College World Series with the Shockers in 1982. Heinkel pitched in the major leagues with Detroit and St. Louis, and last year was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
Camien was a two-time NAIA national champion and an All-American in cross country at Emporia State. While competing in track and field, he won eight indoor conference championships and eight conference titles and five NAIA national championships, all in long-distance events. The Emporia State track star is a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame.
West was named the best football player in the country in NCAA Division II in 1991 while at Pittsburg State. A two-time NCAA Division II first-team All-American and MIAA Player of the Year, West played professional football for two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.
Frederick, Harp and West will be inducted posthumously.
The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, now located in Wichita, Kan., was established in 1961 as part of the Kansas Centennial Celebration. The museum offers exhibits, archives and activities to honor individuals and teams whose achievements in sports brought distinction to themselves, to their communities and to the entire state of Kansas. Not including the new inductees for 2011, 201 former athletes, coaches and administrators are enshrined in the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame class of 2011 will be inducted at ceremonies in Wichita on Oct. 2.