Former Kansas Running Legend Passes Away at Age 81

July 5, 2011


Former Kansas cross country and track star Herb Semper passed away last week at the age of 81.

Semper was a member of the Kansas cross country program during its golden era under the direction of head coach Bill Easton from 1949-52. The Forest Park, Ill., native became the first Jayhawk to win an NCAA championship, prevailing in 1950 and then again in 1951. Semper, a member of the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame, remains the only runner in KU history to win two cross country individual national championships.

Under Easton’s guidance, Semper was a member of two Big Seven Conference championship teams (1950 and 1951) and was a two-time Big Seven individual champion (1950 and 1951). His success extended to the Kansas track and field team as well. A four-time Big Seven Conference champion in the two-mile run (1950-52 indoor; 1950 outdoor), Semper was a two-time outdoor All-American after back-to-back third-place finishes in the two-mile run at the NCAA Championships. Overall, Semper’s tenure at Kansas resulted in him holding 11 two-mile records in Big Seven competition.

The Semper family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Herb’s name to the Hoosier Hills Food Bank.

Send Donations To:

Hoosier Hills Food Bank

2333 West Industrial Park Drive
PO Box 697
Bloomington, IN 47402