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, he worked as a TV sports anchor and a radio sportscaster in Salina, Kansas.  He moved to Kansas City in 1984 and has been there 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

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The NCAA has put off its December announcement on future championship sites to give itself the chance to monitor what happens in state legislatures this fall.

When the Missouri legislature re-convenes, it’s possible that a so-called "religious freedom" bill may pop up again on the agenda. That concerns Kansas City Sports Commission Executive Director Kathy Nelson. Especially since the sports commission submitted a record of 55 bids to the NCAA to host championships.

“For us, we have 55 have chances to get shot down if someone decides to vote for this,” said Nelson.

rizha ubal / Flickr-CC

Before John McLendon died in 1999 at the age of 84, he knew he was already a part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor in the 1979 class. But in this year’s class, which includes Shaquille O’Neal, he was honored among the greatest as a coach.

As fortunate as I was to record a 21-minute interview with McLendon in 1998, while attending a luncheon in conjunction with the NAIA men’s basketball tournament, I could have spent hours listening to someone as humble as he about his achievements.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Pull into the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot for a Kansas City Chiefs game and what do you notice? Besides the plume of smoke from the barbeque grills, you can’t miss the sea of red. Not only do fans wear the colors, more tailgate vehicles display them.

And, in recent years, more old school buses are converted into party buses. 

As time ran short before the Chiefs pre-season opener against Seattle on Aug. 13, Dallas Kidd and his co-workers used 30 cans of spray paint to transform a small, old yellow school bus into a party vehicle for Chiefs games.

One year ago, the Chiefs celebrated the return of veteran safety Eric Berry after his recovery from cancer. But he was conspicuously absent from the annual Chiefs Chamber of Commerce luncheon Friday afternoon.

Berry hasn’t yet signed a contract, but he is set to earn $10.8 million this season, and multiple reports say he’ll return to the Chiefs after Saturday’s pre-season game in Chicago.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

With the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in full swing, nearly all eyes have been glued to the outcomes of the swimming events and women’s gymnastics at their respective venues in Brazil.

But some of the local athletes like archer Zach Garrett of Wellington, Missouri, and tennis player Jack Sock of Overland Park, Kansas, have also made their impact on the Olympic games.

Discus thrower Mason Finley is one of several track and field athletes with local connections scheduled to begin competition Friday.

Ian Echlin / KCUR 89.3

One of the focal points in the Olympics this summer will be swimmer Michael Phelps. Another swimmer, whose first name is Michael and lives outside Lawrence, Kansas, narrowly missed out on the Olympics this year. He’s 17, and big things are predicted of him despite an unconventional training path.

So big that ESPN The Magazine claims that the family of Michael Andrew says he can become this generation’s Michael Phelps. Andrew’s parents don’t recall saying that.

Regardless, Andrew became one of the most talked about swimmers who failed to make the Olympics.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

In spring training, the Kansas City Royals hoped that Kyle Zimmer, their No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, would pitch for them in the big leagues sometime this season.

It won’t happen.

Zimmer, 24, will undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, a compression of nerves between the neck and the shoulder.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore said he wishes Zimmer experienced a smoother professional career.

Tatiana/flickr-- cc

  Overland Park's  Jack Sock is defending his first singles tennis title at the ATP’s U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship underway in Houston. Sock, 23, is currently ranked No. 25 in the world and is the second-best American singles-player behind John Isner.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

This is the time of year when college basketball coaches play musical chairs. They’re coming and going.

The big news since the Big 12 tournament was TCU’s hiring of one of its former players, Jamie Dixon. But around Kansas City, there’s one fan base that’s unhappy about not reaching out to one of its alumni.

Alan Martin, a Kansas State alumnus who lives in Olathe, works in the insurance business. Away from work, he cheers passionately for the Wildcats. So much so that he isn’t afraid to speak his mind, especially about the Wildcats’ slide in men’s basketball lately.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Royals have the core of their World Series championship team back from last year, and their minor league prospects are finding it a difficult task to make the team’s opening day roster.

They’ll make their final roster moves this week before opening the 2016 season Sunday night at Kauffman Stadium against the New York Mets.

The Kansas Jayhawks basketball season ended over the weekend in a regional loss against Villanova, and it may not be until almost June when KU coach Bill Self knows what next year’s team looks like.

Because of NCAA legislation that passed in January, underclassmen will have more flexibility in declaring for the NBA draft. So Bill Self feels others may join senior Perry Ellis in the pro ranks.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

 In the NCAA tournament, the Kansas Jayhawks play Villanova Saturday night with a berth to the Final Four on the line. The game will take place in Louisville, a city that considers itself the center of the college basketball world.

Something that fans in Kansas City might dispute.

“I think when you add up all the history, I think that you could make a case that the Kansas City area is probably about as knowledgeable and historic a place that our game has seen,” says KU coach Bill Self.

UTEP Athletics

The NCAA soon will crown a new college basketball champion, but they're also looking back 50 years at a championship game that made history. 

Senior forward Jerry Armstrong grew up in rural Eagleville, Missouri. He played throughout the season and in the tournament, but he sat out that game. Why? He's white. Texas Western only played African-American players to beat an all-white Kentucky team and win the championship.

David Lattin, one of the African-American starters in the title game, there's a misconception about the 1966 Texas Western roster.

Ian Echlin / KCUR 89.3

When the NCAA Men’s Final Four was last held in Houston five years ago, it had the storyline of two basketball mid-majors — Butler and VCU — that navigated their way to Space City. But in the end the title was won by a traditional power: Connecticut.

Whether or not the UConn Huskies return for another shot at winning in Houston will be determined Saturday night in Des Moines when they take on the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in the second round. The Huskies’ 2011 title came under the now-retired coach Jim Calhoun and Kevin Ollie has since taken over.

Ian Echlin

When the NCAA basketball tournament begins today for the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks, chances are they’ll successfully move on to the next round.  A No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16 seed.

But if the Jayhawks are upset along the way in a bid for their fourth NCAA title, it's not just KU’s season that will come to an end.  This tournament will be the finishing touch on 32 years of broadcasts by Bob Davis.

The top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks completed a successful college basketball weekend after being named the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

It was academic after winning the Big 12 regular season and the tournament title in Kansas City over the weekend. But now that the Jayhawks have their No. 1 seed, this is the analogy coach Bill Self uses.

“It’d be like having a stellar high school career and it’s over, but when you get to college you got start all over again and go compete,” said Self.

The ones who figure to be most disappointed Friday by the quarterfinal results in the Big 12 basketball tournament are the Kansas City merchants since the Iowa State fans are heading home early.

Of the four games played at Sprint Center, only the last game of the day between Oklahoma and Iowa State went down to the final minute. The Sooners prevailed with senior Buddy Hield scoring 39 points. Fellow senior Georges Niang of the Cyclones scored 31. His biggest disappointment was not making it three years in a row for a Cyclone tournament championship.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Unlike the Kansas City Chiefs, success hasn’t meant promotions for Kansas City Royals management.

The Chiefs finished the regular season with 10 wins in a row and their first playoff victory since 1994. In January, the Philadelphia Eagles named Doug Pederson, one of the assistant coaches for the Chiefs, their head coach.

Mizzou Athletics

The University of Missouri women’s basketball team believes it has found the right mix to increase attendance — homegrown talent, and of course, winning.

With a record of 21-6, the Missouri Tigers are in the running for their first bid to the NCAA tournament since 2006. As far as local talent, Sophie Cunningham is the jolt the women’s program at Mizzou needed. She’s the first McDonald’s High School All-American to play for the Tigers, and she’s from Columbia. In her fourth game on the college level against Wake Forest, Cunningham scored 42 points.

Keith Allison / Flickr Creative Commons

If you’re a professional baseball player, the last thing you want to hear is that you’re not running correctly.  But that’s what happened to one of the star players for the Kansas City Royals.

With spring training starting this month, outfielder Lorenzo Cain is still trying to adjust his running style.

That didn’t show in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. Cain’s dash from all the way from first base to home on a single clinched the second straight American League pennant for the Kansas City Royals. 

Out of sync

In the last half of the Kansas City Chiefs season, everything seemed to go right — an 11-game winning streak to end the regular season and their first playoff win since 1994. But in the courtroom, an age discrimination case against the Chiefs was turning problematic.

Court documents filed this week indicate the Chiefs have now settled the case out of court. Neither the plaintiff, former Chiefs maintenance manager Steve Cox, nor his attorney would comment on the settlement. The Chiefs did not respond to a request for comment.

courtesy: Kansas City Chiefs

The New England Patriots held on to beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday in the AFC Division Playoff game at Gillette Stadium. 

The final score: 27-20.

Courtesy / Alex Smith Blake

Alex Smith has been married 15 times.

No, not the star quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs.

We found 15 Alex Smiths who have been married in Jackson or Johnson counties in the last 20 years.

When the weekly college basketball rankings were released before Monday night’s game between the Kansas Jayhawks and Oklahoma Sooners, each team was ranked number one— KU in the AP poll and OU in the coaches poll.

Then the Jayhawks battled OU for three overtimes before winning 109-106.

Down by one with 12 seconds left in the third overtime, Oklahoma had the ball and the chance to end the frustration of 14 straight losses at Allen Fieldhouse. But KU guard Frank Mason stole the inbound pass and was fouled. His free throws then sealed the Jayhawks win.

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Oakland Raiders Sunday, 23-17, to finish the season with 10 wins in a row and an 11-5 record.

But it wasn’t enough to overtake the Denver Broncos in the AFC West since they also won.

When the Chiefs players were on the field, the score of the Broncos game wasn’t shown on the scoreboard at Arrowhead Stadium. Chiefs coach Andy Reid claims they didn’t care.

“They wanna play. You put somebody in front of them. They go play,” said Reid.

After the first semifinal match between Texas and Minnesota Thursday at the NCAA women’s volleyball championship, the Kansas Jayhawks play the second match of the evening against Nebraska.

The Jayhawks are bracing themselves for a crowd that won’t be in favor of them. KU junior Maggie Anderson grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and followed the Huskers throughout high school, so she knows the volleyball pulse.

Courtesy of KU Athletics (Instagram)

This fall, the three area major college football teams—Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri—haven’t provided much to cheer about. That is, unless you think a bowl game for a team with a 6-6 record grabs your attention. But there’s a sport that’s been a hidden gem in the Kansas City area—volleyball.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

On the field, the Kansas City Chiefs are on a roll with five victories in a row. In the courtroom, however, the Chiefs haven’t fared as well lately — they’re fighting an age discrimination lawsuit.

Unless it’s settled out of court, the case, which reaches the very top of the Chiefs’ hierarchy, is a long way from reaching a resolution.

In 2010, Chiefs’ fans watched quarterback Matt Cassel and wide receiver Dwayne Bowe on the field. Meanwhile, Steve Cox, a maintenance supervisor at Arrowhead Stadium, put in long, behind-the-scenes hours.

Laura Gilchrist / Flickr -- CC

Professional soccer club Sporting Kansas City announced on Thursday that the name of its home field in Kansas City, Kansas, will be changed on January 1, 2016, from Sporting Park to Children’s Mercy Park.

The Kansas City-based pediatric hospital will have exclusive naming rights for the next 10 years. The financial terms weren’t disclosed, but Children’s Mercy will also expand its partnership with Sporting Kansas City in other ways.

Hundreds of thousands of Kansas City Royals fans lined the parade route and gathered at Union Station to celebrate the World Series championship.

As loud as Kauffman Stadium gets when Kansas City Royals fans make their voices heard, never before has it sounded like this amphitheater around Union Station when the fans chanted, “Let’s go Royals!”

The player fans wanted to hear from the most was the World Series Most Valuable Player Salvador Perez. “Today we are No. 1 in the whole world, guys,” said Perez.