80th Anniversary of Kansas Relays Welcomes Four into Hall of Fame

April 9, 2007


The Kansas Relays Hall of Fame, in conjunction with the 80th anniversary of the event, has announced the induction of four new members into the Hall of Fame. Dr. F.C. “Phog” Allen, Joe Dial, Dr. Wayne Osness and Joe Schrag will be inducted into the Kansas Relays Hall of Fame and will be recognized at the Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday night of Relays weekend.

Perhaps the name most synonymous with Kansas Athletics, Dr. Forrest “Phog” Allen served as men’s basketball head coach at the University of Kansas for 39 years. To this day, he is the winningest coach in Kansas basketball history, as he compiled a record of 590-219 in his career. As a student at KU, Allen’s coach was “the father of basketball,” Dr. James Naismith. When Allen first thought about making a career of coaching, Naismith told him “You don’t coach basketball, Forrest; you play basketball.” Despite that bit of advice, Allen went ahead with his career that included three NCAA Championships and a 1952 Olympic gold in men’s basketball as an assistant coach on a team compiled largely of Jayhawks.

It was Allen who John Outland urged to bring the prestige of the Penn Relays to a Midwestern location. Thus with the completion of Memorial Stadium in 1921, the first Kansas Relays were conducted on April, 20, 1923, with more than 600 athletes from across the nation competing.

Currently the head coach at Oral Roberts, Joe Dial was an excellent pole vaulter during his years as a student-athlete. A native of Marlow, Okla., Dial attended Oklahoma State University, where he was a four-time NCAA and six-time Big Eight Conference pole vault champion. He was inducted into the OSU Hall of Fame in 2002. He was also the world record-holder in the pole vault in 1986. He held the American pole vault record for nine years (1985-94), breaking his own record nine times in that span. His highest vault was 19’06.5″. Dial won the bronze medal at the 1989 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

At the Kansas Relays, Dial was named the Most Outstanding Athlete three times, once in 1980 while representing Marlow High School and again in 1985 and 1987, when competing with Oklahoma State and Athletics West. In all, he won the Scott Huffman pole vault crown three times and still holds the Kansas Relays’ record in the event when he cleared 19-4.75 in 1987 while representing Athletics West.

A University of Kansas School of Education professor emeritus and former chair of Health, Sport and Exercise Sciences at KU, Dr. Wayne Osness specialized in exercise physiology and the biological aging process, especially as it is affected by exercise. In 2003, Dr. Osness received the Luther Halsey Gulick Award by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (AAHPERD). The Luther Halsey Gulick Award is the highest honor the AAHPERD bestows in recognition of long and distinguished service to the alliance.

In addition, The Kansas chapter of the AAHPERD dedicated its highest award to Dr. Osness at the ceremony, renaming it the Wayne Osness Award. At the Kansas Relays, Dr. Osness has been a valuable official and volunteer at over 40 different Kansas Relays. Dr. Osness also served as a member on the United States Olympic Committee.

The former Topeka West track and field coach and athletics director, Joe Schrag enjoyed tremendous success during a career that spanned more than four decades. Leading Topeka West to four state track and four state cross country championships during his coaching career, Schrag became only third person from the state of Kansas elected to the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 2005. Schrag coached West to state cross country titles in 1968, ’74, ’77 and ’85 and also coached the Chargers to two indoor (’75 and ’76) and two outdoor (’83 and ’84) titles in boys track. Topeka West has already established a monument to Schrag, naming the school’s new track after him in the fall of 2002.

Schrag now works as an the assistant manager at Hummer Sports Park. He has spent the past seven years as a member of the Greater Relays Committee, helping plan the Kansas Relays and plays an integral role in its development and execution each year.

Since 1923 the Kansas Relays has given track and field fans some amazing stories, and the Hall of Fame is meant to give those stories and the athletes who made them a vehicle to be remembered for years to come. Individuals are judged only on their impact on the event regardless of their successes in the sport other than this Kansas event held each April. Each class of the Hall of Fame is selected by the vote of alumni, the media, and the Kansas Relays’ Greater Relays Committee. Each year, the Kansas Relays inducts three living members and one posthumous selection. Any athlete, coach, official, sponsor, or individual associated with the event is eligible for selection. Inductees are recognized at the Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday night of Relays weekend.

The 80th Anniversary of the Kansas Relays begins Wednesday, April 18 with the heptathlon and decathlon and concludes Saturday, April 21 with the running of several thrilling Gold Zone events.

– KU –