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KCUR 89.3 covers community-related topics about sports in the Kansas City region. Do you have a story idea? E-mail News Director Maria Carter, maria@kcur.org.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Thirty years ago, I attended the Nov. 30, 1988, news conference where then-Kansas State athletic director Steve Miller introduced Bill Snyder. At the time, no one envisioned a football coaching career that would ultimately place Snyder in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Perhaps there’d be modest success that Vince Gibson and Jim Dickey enjoyed during their respective tenures with the Wildcats? Sure, that couldn’t be ruled out. But no coach dating back to the first year of the program in 1896 could sustain any degree of consistent success, and Snyder’s first season was difficult, a 1-10 record. That — and K-State football — changed.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

The Kansas City Chiefs fired star running back Kareem Hunt on Friday night after TMZ published a closed-captioned video earlier in the day of an offseason assault against a woman in a Cleveland hotel in February.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Updated 10:53 p.m. Nov. 29 with match result — With the 3-2 loss to the Portland Timbers Thursday night, Sporting Kansas City lost its chance to play in the Major League Soccer championship.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Les Miles is 65, but he’s not prepared to dig into his retirement savings nor the $1.5 million buyout settlement he agreed to last week with LSU football.

 

Far less than what LSU had agreed to pay Miles through 2023, the buyout paved the way for him to accept a new challenge: turn around the moribund football program at the University of Kansas.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

With Wednesday’s hiring of Brandon Martin as new athletic director, UMKC completed its self-assessment with where it wants to be moving forward: committed to the Western Athletic Conference.

“We have been Division I and intend to stay Division I,” UMKC chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal said, referring to the top division of NCAA athletics.

Ian Echlin / For KCUR 89.3

Despite smaller budgets than major college football teams, NCAA Division II football is in the midst of a sports facility “arms race,” and school administrators don’t deny it.

“It’s kind of like the Division Ones,” said Mel Tjeerdsma, Northwest Missouri State’s legendary former football coach and former athletic director. “You have to keep up with the Joneses. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Sunday’s NASCAR race will cap the busiest weekend of the year at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. It’s a market that’s a bright spot for a sport on a downward slope nationally.

Erica Hunzinger / KCUR 89.3

Despite the second-to-worst season in Kansas City Royals’ history (58-104), manager Ned Yost wants to stick around for at least one more year.

And he’ll do just that, agreeing to a one-year extension Sunday for an undisclosed amount to manage in 2019. 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Chiefs' first home game of the season brought a packed stadium, loud fans — and the rollout of a new tailgaiting policy.  

The Chiefs announced last month the new rules, which require fans in the parking lots to either enter the stadium or leave at kickoff, not allowing for people to watch the game or keep partying. So far, the rules have not gone over well, and fan reactions on Sunday were no exception.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City-area officials celebrated in June when the U.S., Canada and Mexico won their combined bid to host the men’s World Cup soccer tournament in 2026. That’s because the city is one of 17 in the U.S. that have a chance at hosting matches.

“Kansas City is probably shining as much as it can and we still have so much room to grow,” Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James said June 14.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR 89.3 file photo

The Kansas City Royals are on pace to break a team record. It’s not one they’ll be proud of.

In 2005, the team lost 106 games. There are 29 left this season, and whatever the Royals’ record is by then, it may not be the worst in baseball.

This weekend’s series between the Royals and Baltimore Orioles will have a say: Two teams mathematically eliminated only four years after they played each other in the American League Championship Series.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Updated Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 5:45 p.m. with remarks from Chiefs president Mark Donovan.

The Kansas City Chiefs announced changes to their tailgating policy this week, and it's left some fans as hot as their grills.  

Fans won't be able to tailgate in the parking lot after kickoff — they'll have to enter the stadium or leave, according to the Chiefs website.

It isn't clear whether it'll take effect for Thursday's preseason game against Green Bay, or whether it'll be on the Sept. 23 home game. 

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Things were going badly enough for the Kansas City Royals when they opened a homestand on a five-game losing streak Friday night. Then a pipe broke in the right-field bullpen area and flooded the warning track.

And the Royals were winning.

The game, already underway, was delayed for 30 minutes. As water gushed from the bottom of the padded wall, the stadium crew frantically shut off the valves to that part of the ballpark and swept the standing water into the drains.

Sporting KC

Ike Opara was 26 in 2015, in the prime of his career and facing the possibility of retiring from professional soccer due to a torn Achilles tendon.

“I thought that was it for me,” Opara said.

This year, the defender is one of the major reasons Sporting Kansas City is a MLS Cup contender. Opara is one of a handful of Kansas City professional athletes who have demonstrated that an Achilles injury no longer is considered a career-ender.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game is taking place this week in Washington, D.C., with Salvador Perez representing the Royals.

But there’s another Kansas City tie: The first All-Star game was played in 1933, the same year the Washington (D.C.) Senators went to the World Series with a first baseman who was known around Kansas City, Missouri. His name was Joe Kuhel (pronounced “cool”).

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Bethany College track and cross country coach Aaron Yoder spends a lot of time on the treadmill in the Lindsborg, Kansas, school’s cardio room. It doesn’t seem unusual unless you see what he’s doing — running backward.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

UMKC's new chancellor won't start the search for a new athletics director until he sees a "working blueprint for the future," he said Tuesday.

C. Mauli Agrawal issued a statement about the athletics department, which is in transition after athletics director Carla Wilson was reassigned last week to the chancellor's office, where she'll be the senior director of student support services. 

Rebekah Hange / KCUR 89.3

With the Kansas City Royals battling the Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in Major League Baseball this year, it should come as no surprise that the hometown team's average attendance is headed for its worst result since 2010, the Kansas City Business Journal reports.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Alfonzo King presided over Kansas City’s public golf courses in the 1960s and 1970s. That was especially true at Swope Park, where he’d regularly play 18 holes with barbeque icon Ollie Gates and civic leader Bruce Watkins.

“A lot of guys used to come down from L.A., Chicago,” the 73-year-old said. “Everybody wanted to come to Kansas City to beat me. I was the drawing card.”

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Johnny Duker speaks soccer.

“Soccer is, I guess, a language that most of us anywhere in the world, people can relate and speake to,” says Duker, who moved to Lee Summit from Ghana when he was 12.

He says soccer helped him make friends in a new country.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Golfers in this week’s U.S. Open will be trying to avoid hitting a ball into the sand. But at courses in Harrisonville, Missouri, or Leonardville, Kansas, finding the sand is equivalent to a day at the beach.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The U.S. men’s soccer team won’t be in this summer’s World Cup in Russia, and the organization is trying to figure out how to re-enter the world’s consciousness. In that, Kansas City plays a prominent role —in more ways than one. 

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Chiefs won’t go to trial this week over the December 2013 beating death of a Smithville man in the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot, opting instead to settle out of court. 

It’s the second lawsuit the Chiefs have settled this year over fan safety, and there’s a third slated for trial next month involving a fan who was injured during a fracas in the grandstands.

Ty Russell / OU Athletics

Patty Gasso has spent her last 24 years in the dugout, coaching Oklahoma’s softball team to 12 Women’s College World Series appearances.

But she’s an anomaly in the Big 12 Conference: one of only three women heading a softball team. Among the Power 5 conferences (Big 12, SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12), the Big 12 is the only one to have more men running softball teams than women.

Erica Hunzinger / KCUR 89.3

As the Kansas City Royals celebrate the franchise’s 50th year, the team is hoping to rekindle what made them successful early on. And that all started by trading an obscure pitcher named John Gelnar.

Ian Echlin

In December, Kansas Jayhawks coach Bill Self did not have reassuring words about the men’s basketball team.

“This is the softest team that Kansas has had since I’ve been here,” Self said.

Those remarks came after the Jayhawks suffered a home loss to Arizona State on Dec. 10. Just four days earlier, Kansas lost to Washington in front of a friendly crowd at the Sprint Center.

KU’s play, even in some wins this season, left Self frustrated. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

To many the new  Kansas City Urban Youth Academy near 18th and Vine in Kansas City is more than just a place for kids to play baseball and softball.

Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed calls it "a sacred place for everyone in Kansas City."

"This is where it should be," says Tony Reagins, who is head of youth sports for  Major League Baseball.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

As they advanced over the first two weekends of the NCAA tournament to reach the Final Four, the University of Kansas Jayhawks played inside arenas relatively close to Lawrence, which gave them some friendly crowds.

But at the Alamodome in a dome in San Antonio, it’ll take more of an effort to win over Texans in the crowd who aren't dressed in Villanova, Michigan or Loyola colors.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City native Amaad Wainright already has had some big moments with the Kansas State men’s basketball team, including the team's run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and a season-high 35 minutes played during a Big 12 tournament loss to conference champion Kansas earlier this month.

Jeff and Laura Jacobsen / Kansas Athletics

Coming out of the weekend, lots of fans in Lawrence and Manhattan were thrilled as their basketball teams advanced in the NCAA tournament.

But that also means some coaches are putting extra money in their pockets.

Most big time college coaches have lucrative bonuses in their contracts.

Kansas State University's Bruce Weber has already done very well.

He has earned an additional $344,000 dollars for making the Sweet 16, according to his contract.

Weber’s contract calls for a 16 percent bonus on top of his $2.15 million salary.

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