Greg Echlin | KCUR

Greg Echlin

Sports Reporter

Ever since he set foot on the baseball diamond at Fernwood Park on Chicago's South Side, Greg Echlin began a love affair with the world of sports.

After graduating from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Greg worked as a TV sports anchor and a radio sportscaster in Salina, Kansas. He moved to Kansas City in 1984 and has been here since covering sports.  Through the years, he has covered multiple Super Bowls, Final Fours and Major League Baseball's World Series and All-Star games.
 
With his high metabolism rate, Greg is able to enjoy a good meal and stay slim when he's not running around on the sports scene. He loves desserts — even making them; cheesecakes, pies and parfaits are the most common around the Echlin household.

Ways to Connect

Charlie Riedel / AP

It’s officially spring in Kansas City, even with the coronavirus. Around the metro, there are signs Mother Nature is unaware of the pandemic with greener grass, budding flowers and warmer temperatures.

That’s drawing many people outdoors to take a break from being cooped up indoors following stay-at-home orders. Health experts say getting exercise is important, even with restrictions on movement, but people should still try to minimize the risk of spreading the disease.

Here are some tips for safely getting some fresh air and exercise outdoors during a pandemic. 

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Zach Garrett, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist in archery, is one of a handful of athletes in the Kansas City metro affected by the postponement of the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo until 2021. But it has also affected others in Kansas City who participate in and follow archery.

Garrett, who hails from Wellington, Missouri, just east of Kansas City, has been training in southern California under the tutelage of USA Archery’s national team coach, Kisik Lee.

Though he’s disappointed by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to postpone the games, Garrett said he understands why.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

The 83rd annual NAIA men’s basketball tournament was canceled last week as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. It was supposed to start Wednesday and run this week through next Tuesday. 

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The stands at Blue Springs South High School were dotted with just a few fans Saturday for the Missouri high school basketball quarterfinals. There was no pep band. But nothing had stopped what likely was the only sporting event in the Kansas City metro area.

Missouri, which has four cases of the coronavirus and whose governor declared a state of emergency the day before, was among rare company this weekend as one of only four states that allowed high school basketball tournaments for girls and boys teams to continue.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Update: 12:05 noon, March 12.

Following a wave of suspensions, postponements and cancellations in the sports world, the Big 12 Conference announced on Thursday that the men's and women's basketball tournaments in Kansas City have been cancelled as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The announcement by the Big 12 was precipitated by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas's declaration of a state of emergency in Kansas City.

Charlie Riedel / Associated Press

The University of Kansas on Thursday responded to NCAA allegations that it was guilty of recruiting violations in its basketball program, insisting it did nothing wrong.

In its official response to the NCAA, KU says the allegations are “unsupported by the evidence and the record.” It adds that “charges leveled against Coach (Bill) Self are not based on fact.”

Todd Weddle; Terry Griffin / Northwest Missouri State; Drury Sports Communication

Diego and Daejah Bernard of St. Joseph, Missouri, have a shot to do something never accomplished in college basketball at any NCAA level: A brother and sister duo winning national championships at two different schools in the same season.

Each of the Bernard siblings is a starting guard for their respective teams at the NCAA Division II level.

K-State Sports

Scott Frantz has been quietly preparing for what lies ahead since Kansas State’s football season ended at a bowl game on Dec. 31. It’s a future that could change NFL history.

Frantz, an offensive lineman from Lawrence, is gay. His teammates and the Wildcat faithful have known that for three years. But not since Mizzou’s Michael Sam has a college football player been out publicly before seeking a pro career. 

Jose Lepe / AP Photo

Katie Sowers’ childhood passion for football has carried her from Hesston, Kansas, to Miami — and the Super Bowl, where she’ll be the first woman to ever coach in the title game.

Sowers is an assistant coach on offense for the rival San Francisco 49ers, and will be in the skybox with the other coaches strategizing against the Kansas City Chiefs, and the city she loves so much the skyline is tattooed on her left forearm. She’s also the first openly LGBTQ coach in the NFL and, thus, Super Bowl LIV.

Texas Tech Athletics

It turns out, Patrick Mahomes isn’t the first Chiefs player from Texas Tech University to star in a Super Bowl.

That honor goes to E.J. Holub, who is the only player in NFL history to start a Super Bowl on offense and defense. In Super Bowl IV, he snapped the football to the game’s Most Valuable Player, Len Dawson, as the Chiefs’ starting center.

Four years earlier, he started at linebacker in the very first Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers.

Associated Press

Not since Len Dawson guided the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl IV title has the team had such an elite quarterback at the centerpiece of the offense and the team. 

But even Patrick Mahomes, who’s been the starting QB since 2018, knows he’s not the sum of all the parts on offense and defense. Here are five guys not named Mahomes who also bring something special to the Chiefs:

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Mark Powell of Raymore, Missouri, was raised a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs by his father, who was stationed at the Fort Sill military base in Lawton, Oklahoma. That was even before his junior high school classmate in Lawton, Will Shields, went off to play college football at Nebraska and later had a 14-year Pro Football Hall of Fame career with the Chiefs.

Being accustomed to the military life, Powell found it easy to get up before dawn Sunday and says he arrived at the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot for the AFC Championship game at 4:45 a.m. 

Colin Braley / AP

David Glass, the former owner of the Kansas City Royals who sold the club late last year, has died.

The team announced his death Friday, saying he "passed away last week." Glass was 84 years old.

Glass bought the Royals in 2000. Before that, he had served as the team's chairman of the board after the death in 1993 of the team's founder, Ewing Kauffman.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Fans have high expectations for Eliah Drinkwitz, the newly named University of Missouri head football coach. But a former college president’s research has found that if history holds, Tigers fans’ hopes could be dashed.

Former Kansas State University President Jon Wefald estimates that Drinkwitz, or any coach in a similar position, has at best a 30% chance of success.

“I’m not a mathematician,” said Wefald, who retired from Kansas State in 2009.  “I just use common sense. Quite a few people have read my paper, and no one disagrees with the 30%.”

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The University of Kansas football team finished with a 3-9 record this year — the same record as its 2018 season, which cost head coach David Beaty his job.

But there’s a different feeling about the program this year after Beaty’s successor, Les Miles, completed his first season. 

Beaty was fired after four years as the head coach with a record of 6-42. In 2015, Beaty’s first season, the Jayhawks were one of two major college football teams in the country — the other was Central Florida — without a win.  

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

It seems odd that Sporting Kansas City would make a presentation this week at a national sustainable agriculture summit. 

After all, professional sports eat up lots of resources: jet and diesel fuel for trips to away games, water to keep the turf or fairways looking lush and electricity to fire up their fans and keep score.

Kansas City Royals

John Sherman has been a familiar face to Major League Baseball owners. To Kansas City Royals fans, he will become one after the other MLB owners officially approved his ownership of the team at their meeting in Arlington, Texas, on Thursday.

After the meeting ended. Sherman opened his brief statement by acknowledging his partnership with the Cleveland Indians as a 30% owner.

Jeremy Kaczor

The Benedictine College football team in Atchison, Kansas, will likely help its coach keep a somewhat dubious distinction. Ravens coach Larry Wilcox has more career wins without a national championship than any other active college football coach in the country.

Wilcox has 296 career victories, 14th on the all-time football coaching victories list. Regarded as a legendary figure in Atchison with 41 seasons as a head coach, Wilcox has the Ravens’ home stadium named in his honor — Larry Wilcox Stadium.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The 2019 calendar for the U.S. women’s national soccer team is over, but for new coach Vlatko Andonovski, who has strong ties to Kansas City, the work is just beginning.

Andonovski’s coronation by U.S. Soccer as the new coach of the women’s team was held, Oct. 28, in New York. He won his first two matches with the team, beating Sweden 3-2 and Costa Rica 6-0. The international friendlies are helping prepare the team ahead of the Olympic qualifiers.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Three days after padlocking Village West Stadium and evicting the Kansas City T-Bones, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County has agreed to enter a new relationship with an organization called Max Fun Entertainment LLC, which plans to buy the team.

Commissioners voted 9-1 on Thursday night to transfer the team’s ownership to Max Fun from the John Ehlert family, which owes the UG $700,000 in back rent and unpaid utility bills.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

To help celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs’ 60th year, the franchise has asked area artists to design retro game day posters to raise money for area charities.

The idea was inspired by other major league franchises such as the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers, which sold locally designed posters at each of its 41 regular season home games and into the playoffs.

John Cheng

A Grain Valley teen is one of five athletes picked to compete at the world gymnastics championships in Stuttgart, Germany for the United States women’s team.

Kara Eaker, 16, is competing for the U.S. on the senior level for her second straight year. She made the balance beam final at last year’s world championships in Doha, Qatar. 

Eaker looks back at the experience as a useful tool for this year’s competition, especially “being able to get used to going for that long (trip) away from home (and) also training with the gymnasts there in Doha.”

Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City’s 2019 season started with a bang: Reaching the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League tournament, the most prestigious soccer club tournament in North America. But it ended with a thud.

Sporting’s streak of eight straight seasons of making the playoffs, the third longest in Major League Soccer behind Seattle (10) and New York (9), officially came to a halt after a 2-1 loss at Minnesota on Wednesday night. 

Greg Echline / KCUR

After managing the Kansas City Royals to some of the club’s greatest glories and long stretches as one of the worst teams in baseball, Ned Yost has announced he’ll retire at the end of the 2019 season.

When the Royals finish their latest 100-loss season at home against Atlanta and Minnesota this week, Yost will leave behind more than a few memorable moments. 

Meg Williams / San Francisco 49ers

In the best of times for the Kansas City Chiefs and through the worst, the organization has heard women’s voices loud and clear. Since the 1990s, the team has been conscientious about listening to the players’ wives and girlfriends when it comes to family concerns.

“It was amazing … to hear them and their side of it,” said Lamonte Winston, the team’s former executive director of player development until 2009. He first joined the Chiefs as a scout in 1993.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The Unified Government of Kansas City, Kansas, and Wyandotte County served the Kansas City T-Bones with an eviction notice.

The UG cites more than $700,000 in unpaid rent and utilities as the reason for the eviction notice.

T-Bones president Adam Ehlert released a statement late in the day. He called the timing a surprise and said that the organization was “shocked by what appears to be this capricious action.”

The T-Bones have been up for sale for almost a year, but in the statement, Ehlert said that a sale would not come during the season.

Ricardo Bufolin

Three women gymnasts from the Kansas City area — Leanne Wong, Kara Eaker and Aleah Finnegan — have a shot at making the United States' Olympic team when the USA Gymnastics national championships get underway at the Sprint Center on Thursday.

None of the three is scheduled to graduate from high school until 2021.

Alex Smith/BB&T Atlanta Open

Jack Sock is back on his singles game, looking to rekindle a career that peaked in 2017 with a No. 8 world ranking, then sliding to 9-22 in 2018. 

Blythe Dorian / Kansas City T-Bones

The Kansas City T-Bones have 17 seasons and 3 independent baseball league championships to their name. But for almost a year, they’ve been up for sale with no takers and behind on their bills.

“The market has changed. Kansas City has changed, so a lot of things have changed,” T-Bones general manager Chris Browne said.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Kansas City Chiefs star wide receiver Tyreek Hill won’t be sanctioned over an incident in which his 3-year-old son was injured. The NFL's decision comes just days before traning camp starts Tuesday.

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