Coaches Self, Gill Highlight Traditions Night

Aug. 16, 2010

LAWRENCE, Kan. – An informal “Class” was staged Monday night at Memorial Stadium when Kansas held its annual Traditions Night. The event, hosted by student body president Michael Wade Smith, is held every year as a way to show incoming KU students the many traditions of the University and allow returning students, alumni, faculty and members of the Lawrence community an opportunity to participate in some of their favorites.

The KU marching band, spirit squad, choir and several prominent members of the KU community led fans in University traditions such as Waving the Wheat, the Rock Chalk Jayhawk chant and clap sequences of the fight song, “I’m a Jayhawk”, while also providing insight as to how these traditions came about. Video’s on Kivisto Field’s new video scoreboard broadcasted tutorials and messages from special KU guests, such as athletes (NCAA pole vault champion Jordan Scott, volleyball player Karina Garlington and football players Jake Laptad and Chris Harris), prominent faculty members and alumni, including Amy Hurst, who was the original creator of the mascot Baby Jay.

The highlight of the night was when KU’s most well-known coaches, men’s basketball coach Bill Self and new football coach Turner Gill, spoke to the audience.

Self addressed the crowd as the mascots, Big Jay and Baby Jay, bowed in appreciation. The crowd excitedly hung on the coach’s every word, as he talked about basketball, leadership and academics. He encouraged the students in attendance to come together to become support systems for one another during their college years. Self told the crowd to explore all of the opportunities that KU has to offer and to make the most out of their experience.

Gill, new to the KU community, talked about how honored he is to be a head coach at a school with such deeply-rooted traditions. Gill raised the excitement level for the upcoming football season and asked fans to come out every Saturday to show their support for the team and for KU.

The night concluded with the introduction of a new tradition, the Hawk Zone cheering section, and a video message from KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little.