Aug. 19, 2010
Shelly Canada Jordan (women’s basketball 1994-97)
Was a forward under head coach Marian Washington, suiting up on four-straight NCAA Tournament teams. Jordan played forward for the Jayhawks, owning career averages of 3.8 points and 1.9 rebounds. Jordan played in 119 games at KU, starting 21. Jordan saw her best action during her sophomore season, where she turned in 5.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 61.2 percent from the field. Jordan was a member of both the final Big 8 Championship and the inaugural Big 12 Championship teams from Kansas. Additionally, she played on the first-ever KU team to advance to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 1996. Jordan currently resides in Eugene, Ore., with her husband Reggie and daughters Emma and Avery. The Jordans also serve as guardians for their niece Shimea.
At what age did you begin playing basketball and how did you get started?
I started playing organized basketball in the fourth grade at school, but I started playing in the driveway with my sisters about the time I learned to walk.
At that time did you have any idea you would go on to earn a college scholarship for hoops?
No not at all. Probably around 8th grade the high school coach started talking to me about it and I became focused on it as a goal. I definitely took it a lot more seriously then and fortunately I was able to pursue and achieve that dream by playing for Kansas.
What factors led to you choosing KU?
I liked the idea of playing in the Big 8. Since I was from Oklahoma, I could still be close to home but at the same time get a little away from my comfort zone. Kansas was definitely a nationally recognized program at the time and after talking to Coach Washington and going on my recruiting visit, there was no question it was the right place for me.
Can you talk about the adjustments to playing college basketball after competing in 6-on-6 basketball in high school?
It was a huge adjustment. I had played AAU basketball in the summers from eighth grade on so I had some experience with the 5-on-5 full court game. I had trained strictly as an offensive player in junior high and high school, so playing full court at a very high level and playing defense was certainly an adjustment. It was also an exciting time. I got to learn a new twist on a game I had been playing for many years. It was almost a new sport for me!
What is your current job and how long have you been there?
I am the General Sales Manager of IMG College at the University of Oregon Athletic Department. I have been here for 12 years, since graduation from KU. I oversee/manage all aspects of corporate sponsorship sales at Oregon.
How do you think having been a college athlete helps you in your current position?
Being an athlete of any type teaches you great teamwork and the ability to work with all types of people in order to accomplish all types of tasks. I think having been an athlete I am more driven in every thing I do. I learned the value of hard work and how it pays off. As an athlete everything you do is designed to reach goals. It was a great life experience. I got a chance to meet so many people from diverse backgrounds. The travel exposed me to different things, it was an education all of its own.
Since your husband was a big football star at Oregon, will your kids grow up to be Ducks or Jayhawks?
My husband, Reggie Jordan (linebacker 1993-96), and I have a come to a compromise. We call them Jayducks!!! Our daughters (niece Shimea 20, Emma 5, Avery 3) cheer for both teams and have plenty of Jayhawk gear, but since we live in Eugene they definitely also love the Ducks!
Have you had a chance to see the upgraded/new facilities for basketball at KU?
I have not, but I look forward to it! I have heard many wonderful things about the practice facility and the lockerroom upgrades. I cannot wait to get back and check it all out.
What is your fondest playing memory from your days at KU?
There are so many to choose from. I would say one of my greatest memories and most exciting games as a player was beating Texas to go to the Sweet 16 my junior season (1996). It was KU’s first time advancing to the Sweet 16 and it was an amazing experience. Also winning that game in Allen Fieldhouse made it even more special. Another game I have to mention is Senior Night in Allen Fieldhouse. It was very emotional and a night I will never forget.
Do you still keep in touch with any of your former teammates/coaches at KU?
Absolutely. I follow the current team online. I am on kuathletics.com regularly! I also receive correspondence from the women’s basketball office and that really helps me stay in tune with what is going on in the program. As far as my former teammates, there are many I am in contact with on the phone and who I try to visit occasionally. Others I stay in touch with via email and facebook and I happen to have one as a coworker in the UO athletic department. Jennifer Jackson (1998-01) works in Academic Services in the Oregon Athletics Department and we get to see her regularly!
Moran Norris (football, 1997-00)
Norris is currently preparing to start his 10th season in the NFL and his fourth with the San Francisco 49ers. Norris arrived at KU as a tight end, but shifted over tailback/fullback his junior year where he saw great success. He finished his Jayhawk career with 864 career rushing yards on 199 carries (4.3 avg.) with 10 TDs. Norris also added 17 receptions for 87 yards and one TD. He rushed for 313 yards and two TDs as a senior, earning third-team All-Big 12 honors. Norris rushed for career-high 537 yards and eight scores as a junior, splitting time between fullback and tailback. Norris was a fourth round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2001 and played there for three seasons before being picked up by his hometown Houston Texans. He suited up for the Texans for three seasons before making his move to the Bay area. Norris currently makes his permanent home in Houston with his wife Tamara and daughter London.
At what age did you start playing football?
I was six when I first starting playing football. It was little league football. I played for the Brentwood Rams. I started out playing offensive line and linebacker.
What/who inspired you to be a football player?
My older brother, Graston (who played running back at Iowa State 1993-96) played football and I always wanted to be just like him. Also, my dad was one of the coaches and he got me involved.
What led to your decision to go to KU?
I wanted to get out of Texas and do something different. I didn’t want to play some place close and be tempted to go home every weekend. I wanted to go some place I could grow up, mature and be on my own. After I started looking around it just didn’t get any better than Kansas. Not only was football a good fit for me, but it was an opportunity to get a great education.
You came to KU as a tight end and eventually moved to fullback, was that a difficult transition for you?
At first it was a pretty difficult transition, but I had a great coach at the time and he helped me out a lot. He made the transition much better. My work ethic helped out a lot. I was always known as a hard worker and I think that is part of why the coaches had confidence I could make the change.
Did you ever think you would have this long of a football career?
No. Never. I really didn’t see an NFL career in my future until after my junior year in college. That is when the NFL was realistic goal. I am very blessed to have been able to stay in the league this long and continue playing the game I love.
You started the Moran Norris Follow Me Foundation, talk a little about what made you decide to start your foundation?
I used to do a lot of volunteer work at KU through the CHAMPS/Lifeskills program. I was selected to go to the NCAA Leadership conference and it opened my eyes to a lot of things. I really enjoy doing charity work and I always wanted to help kids and give back to the community.
What events do you have with your foundation?
My foundation is primarily in my hometown of Houston. It is designed to provide students, parents, and teachers with programs and resources to combat the challenges associated with various types of behavioral problems. The foundation’s success in these areas is attributed to such programs as the annual “Follow Me” Football Camp, Shopping for Good Character, Pay Now Play Later, and Athletes for Art.
Each year we have a football camp and a fundraising dinner.
Your wife runs your foundation, how is it having her as a “boss”?
It is great working with her (Tamara Norris). If it was someone else I would probably not be so attentive to what is required to having a good foundation, but since it is my wife I have to! I know how to pick and choose my battles and she does a great job of running it. I could not do it without her.
Have you met any KU fans in San Francisco? How do you keep up with KU football/athletics?
I meet Kansas fans out here a lot. Last Sunday after our preseason game in Indianapolis, I saw guy with KU shirt on. I went over and spoke with him. It seems like there are Jayhawks everywhere! I keep up with several of my KU teammates via email and on the phone. I always check the up on the football team’s progress and know how they are doing via the KU website. I am excited to see how Coach Gill does with the program.
What is your fondest playing memory from your KU days?
Ironically, I would say all those mornings of getting up at 6 a.m. and working out as a freshman. Even though it was really tough, it was a great bonding time. As far as a game memory, playing against K-State my junior year. It was the first game I really got to carry the ball a lot. I had a touchdown and that game really put me on the map, even though we lost.
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