Sports

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

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.

5 Moments Where The Chiefs Nearly Lost To The Broncos

Nov 28, 2016

Against all odds, the Kansas City Chiefs escaped with a 30-27 win on Sunday night over the Denver Broncos. In an overtime thriller filled with dramatic twists and unlikely heroes, fans of both teams thought their team had secured a victory at several different points throughout the game. Luckily for Kansas Citians, all of that heightened drama paid off in the end with a Chiefs victory, extending their record to 8-3 and putting them in prime to position to make the playoffs. But securing the win was never easy.

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.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

In major college football, there were only two teams in the country last season that failed to win a single game—Central Florida and Kansas. The Jayhawks play their first game of the season this Saturday.

The crimson and blue program is buoyed by a corps of fans even during their struggles last year.

In KU’s season opener last year against South Dakota State, the Jayhawks never got the chance to kick the potential game-tying field goal in the final seconds. As a result, South Dakota State won, 41-38.

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.

bluhawk.com

Just think, for a moment, about how many great sports stories begin with an open field, or an empty stretch of asphalt. Maybe a cornfield. An old sandlot.

Sam Zeff KCUR 89-3

    

In an announcement Thursday morning, the White House said President Obama will congratulate the Royals on their 2015 World Series victory. 

The message came from the White House and via this Tweet from the Royals' official Twitter account. It features Kansas City native, White House Press Secretary and Royals fan, Josh Earnest. 

After just over 14 months as University of Missouri Athletic Director, Mack Rhoades will leave to serve as vice president and director of athletics for Baylor University in Waco, Texas. 

"While my family is excited to start this new chapter in our lives, we do so with great appreciation for our time at Mizzou," Rhoades wrote in a release Wednesday afternoon. "We've met many wonderful people and made lasting friendships. I believe the athletic department has a very bright future."

Kicking styles in FootGolf vary with some players kicking straight-on and others using a soccer-style kick.
Steve Bell / KCUR 89.3

In July, Tomahawk Hills became the third area golf course offering FootGolf, a variation of golf played with soccer balls.

Like regular golf, FootGolf is played on a nine or 18-hole course. At Tomahawk Hills, the new nine-hole green wends its way around and between golf course fairways.

Heart of America golf pro Nate Richardson at Swope Park says fairways are shared at that course, which opened in 2014.

Within the year, the soccer-golf hybrid was drawing almost as many players as regular golf.

File: Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Southwest Missouri native Courtney Frerichs is heading to Rio de Janeiro looking for gold.

Frerichs, who hails from Nixa, Missouri, finished second in the steeplechase at the U.S Olympic track and field trials on Thursday, good enough to earn her a ticket to the Olympics in Brazil in August.

Anna Leach / KCUR 89.3

An exit interview with Olympic gold medalist Shannon Vreeland, a swimmer from Overland Park, Kansas, just days after her career ended at the swimming trials in Omaha. We discuss how Kansas Citians make it  from their initial training in local pools and gyms all the way to the Olympics,.

Guests:

  • Shannon Vreeland, world champion swimmer
  • Greg Echlin, KCUR's sports reporter
http://ballcharts.com/

Flipping through the channels this time of year, you might catch one of the 27 rounds of the NBA playoffs. But around here, basketball season pretty much ends with March Madness.

Or, maybe not.

This weekend, this city of the Royals and Chiefs, and once Monarchs and Kings, welcomes some new sports nobility to town: The Kansas City Majestics are the first professional women’s basketball team in 20 years to call KCMO home.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Parade Park in the 18th and Vine district will get a new look next year with the completion of the Major League Baseball’s Urban Youth Academy. It’s aimed at motivating more kids to play baseball and softball, but some are hoping it along with a proposed $27 million investment from the city could revitalize the historic area.  

Finding the next Lorenzo Cain

Courtesy Kathleen Kunkler

Not content to let the "Boys in Blue" bask in their 2015 World Series glow, popular statistical analysis blog FiveThirtyEight says the Royals only have a four percent chance of winning the World Series this year.

The blog's new daily 2016 MLB predictions are a little more generous for the Royals' playoff and division leadership chances: 47 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

Leicester City Football Club

Yes, the Royals are back, flashing the magic that made them World Series champs, Sporting KC’s cruising along at the top of the standings, and fans across Kansas City are feeling blue—in that good way that we’re almost used to by now.

Which is why I want to talk about Lester.

Who’s Lester? Exactly. But if you don’t know, then you’re missing the greatest underdog story in the history of sports.

St. Thomas Aquinas

When Riley Pint uncorked a 102-mile-per-hour pitch in February he may not have known the exact velocity, but he knew it felt good. Baseball scouts and coaches, meanwhile, knew they wanted to see more of the St. Thomas Aquinas High School senior on the mound.

Pint says pitching professionally would suit him just fine. "It's something I strive for, to be there [in the MLB] one day," Pint said during a phone interview on KCUR's Up To Date, "It's just a little earlier than I expected, I guess."

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.

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