Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 69 A Gold Mine on the Kansas Plains

Last night while working on this blog I stumbled across a website set up by Ray Wyatt, a 440 runner from U. of Kansas in the mid to late 50's. There are some wonderful pictures of KU teams, of Ray, and Bill Nieder, Al Oerter, Billy Mills, scenes from the KU track hall of fame, including one of Jim Ryun, Billy Mills, and Glenn Cunningham running side by side on the Lawrence track. You can see Ray's site at  Ray Wyatt and his picture just below. KU obviously stacked the deck in this race. That's the old board track at Kansas City. You didn't step off that one, you fell off it.
Ray Wyatt  Big 8 Indoor 




The Sooners got on with the Jayhawks a little less infamously than the Tigers of Missouri, but it was always a big rivalry.

In my junior year we traveled to Lawrence for a midweek meeting with the Jayhawks in Fog Allen Fieldhouse. Pre meet publicity talked only of the impending 60 yard dash, first running event of the night, between Kansas' All American footballer, Gayle Sayers and the OU All American Joe Don Looney, fullback and leading punter in the past football season. And it came to pass there was a huge crowd for an indoor track meet. As we milers were warming up for our event which followed the 60 yards, we were thinking that for once we would finally have a crowd to run before.

The 60 was almost a non-event as Sayers left Looney picking the roostertail of dirt from Sayers' spikes out of his mouth. We milers kept up our preparations, tightened up our spikes, and made our way to the starting line, as a vast majority of the spectators made their way to the door, going back to whatever else was on that night in Lawrence. They weren't there to see a track meet, only their hero devour Looney which he did. Sayers went into the Big 8 indoor meet with leading times in the 60, long jump , and low hurdles, and did poorly in all. three events.
Gayle Sayers U. of Kansas
Joe Don Looney U. of Oklahoma

This is the 1957 KU team picture featuring Wilt Chamberlain and Al Oerter just to Wilt's right
Cliff Cushman Olympic Silver 400IH 1960
MIA Viet Nam

Al Oerter

Bill Nieder


Coach Bill Easton

Visit Ray's site for a lot of other great pictures and info.

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