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

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City fans celebrated when the Royals won the 2015 World Series, but the team has struggled since then, especially this year. Management has started to make changes, and fans are losing their enthusiasm.

But there are still some hard-core fans holding out hope that they can make one more run at the playoffs before the complexion of the team changes even more.

Todd Weddle / Northwest Missouri State University

Northwest Missouri State junior Justin Pitts was named the NCAA Division II Player of the Year this week by Basketball Times magazine. He’s a 5-foot-9-inch point guard from Blue Springs South High School.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The Raytown South High School boys' basketball team was only one victory short of making the state semifinals in Columbia, Missouri. Instead, Kearney High School is on its way there after beating Raytown on Saturday. 

Raytown South’s recent success was a lift for a program scorched by unresolved accusations of racial discrimination towards the team.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The Big 12 men’s basketball tournament begins Wednesday downtown at the Sprint Center. Top-seeded Kansas doesn’t play until Thursday in the quarterfinals, but KU has already put itself in elite company winning its 13th consecutive regular season Big 12 title. That ties the Jayhawks with UCLA.

KU faced challenges on the court, but even more trouble off the court en route to this year’s title.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Updated: Monday, 10:30 a.m.

The Kansas City Royals and fans are reacting to the news of the death of one of their top young starting pitchers. Twenty-five-year old Yordano Ventura was killed on Sunday in a one-car accident in the Dominican Republic, where he grew up and lived. 

Queen Yuna / Flickr - CC

Figure skating competitors are in Kansas City this week for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Sprint Center. It’s the first time the figure skating national championships are in Kansas City since 1985. That was a breakthrough year for diversity in the sport, the figure skating nationals have struggled since then to match that diversity.

Phil Hersh, a former writer for the Chicago Tribune who covered 30 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, calls Tiffany Chin’s performance at the 1985 championships an “absolute revelation.”

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

While Arrowhead Stadium will be jammed on Sunday for the Kansas City Chiefs playoff game, the Chiefs must still deal with the case of the parking lot fatality from three years ago.

Though the criminal case over the death of Kyle Van Winkle was settled last year, a wrongful death suit against the Chiefs is still pending. The victim’s family has also named the perpetrator, Joshua Bradley, in the suit. The lawsuit addresses several parking lot issues that the Chiefs continue to deal with.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Chiefs will host the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday in an AFC divisional playoff game. Some experts feel this year’s Chiefs have the best shot at reaching the Super Bowl since they won it in 1970. The other side of it is the heartbreak Chiefs fans have become accustomed to in the post-season.

Ian Echlin

The Northwest Missouri State football team won its second straight NCAA Division II championship on Saturday, but the shine from that trophy wore off when the university announced just a few hours later that football coach Adam Dorrel was leaving. He accepted an offer to coach at Abilene Christian University in Texas.

Richard Wright, the newly-named coach, has hardly had time to think about the big shoes he’ll fill. In six years, Adam Dorrel took the Bearcats football team to a level the university had never seen before.

Dale Grosbach

The Baker University football team will try to accomplish something no other athletics team at the school in Baldwin City, Kansas has pulled off—winning a national championship. The Wildcats (14-0) will play Saint Francis (12-1) of Fort Wayne, Indiana, for the NAIA title Saturday in Daytona Beach, Florida.

In the highly competitive world of football recruiting, the approach at a small school like Baker is different.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

For the second year in a row and third time in the last four years, the Rockhurst University men’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Division II semifinal matches. Only this time it was practically in the Hawks’ back yard at Swope Park Village.

The Hawks had everything they wanted, including a raucous group of blue-clad students in the stands, with hopes of reaching the title match for the first time in program history.

Except for the win.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Before Allen Stallings started work in a NASCAR pit crew he was a linebacker for Greensboro College in North Carolina. The transition from the playing field to the race track is becoming more common. In fact, NASCAR is recruiting former college athletes for these high pressure jobs.

Stallings and the other race teams on the NASCAR circuit stopped at the Kansas Speedway over the weekend for the Hollywood Casino 400.

Brook Ward / Flickr-CC

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill has already made an impression on the field just four games into his rookie season. But it’s his past off the field that has drawn the Chiefs into the controversy concerning how the NFL deals with players who commit domestic violence.

The NFL has been under fire for how it handles its domestic abuse offenders. The controversy surfaced in Kansas City on the NFL Draft’s second day last April when the Chiefs chose Tyreek Hill in the fifth round.

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.

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