Throwback Thursday: David Lawrence

Dec. 8, 2011

120811aaa_497_7246724.jpegDavid Lawrence (Football) 1979-81
David Lawrence has been a staple in the Lawrence community for the past thirty plus years. After a successful career as an offensive guard for the Jayhawks, the Parsons, Kan. native made the transition to coach and then radio analyst. Lawrence still can be found at Memorial Stadium on KU game days, working for the Jayhawk Sports network. When not in the radio booth, he is in the classroom, where he currently teaches ninth grade at Free State High School in Lawrence.

What made you decide to come to Kansas?
“The turning point that I have used a lot when talking about my experiences at Kansas is when I was 10 years old in 1968. My dad brought me up to Lawrence for a football game and I remember going up to Campanile Hill, looking down at the stadium and I just thought that was the prettiest thing that I had ever seen. I remember right then, thinking that being able to play here would be the best thing. I was very lucky and blessed to be a big guy and I think coming up here to play all stemmed from that day with my dad. I was lucky to have a growth spurt and accumulated some awards in high school, but I think that kids being exposed at that age to something as beautiful as the University of Kansas tends to stick in their mind. I know that is something I will never forget.”

What was the hardest part about being a student-athlete?120811aaa_497_7246729.jpeg
“When I came to Kansas, I had a coach named Bud Moore who was not very popular and he came from Alabama. At the end of my redshirt freshman season, Kansas hired back Don Fambrough and to me, he was everything a coach should be. He was a great person that cared about the team tremendously. He turned out to be a father figure for me until the day he died this past September. So the toughest part was probably dealing with the Bud Moore days which would have been 1977-78. After that, being a student-athlete at Kansas and dealing with practices and spring practice like everyone else was pretty tough. I love this place and I still do so I always felt like I was pretty fortunate to be a student-athlete here.”

What was your most memorable moment on the field as a Jayhawk?
“There is no question it would be the Missouri game my senior year (1981). We were 7-3, which was much better than what we had been. Heading into the last game against the Tigers, we were told earlier that the Tangerine Bowl had contacted Kansas and that they were going to pick the winner of the Kansas vs. Missouri game, so we thought that was just wonderful. Then later we were told that Missouri had a backdoor deal with the bowl and had already accepted the invitation, so that got us riled up. We went into the game thinking that was going to be our bowl game and we beat those Tigers really. We ended up getting another invitation to the Hall of Fame Bowl, but beating Missouri my senior season would be the most memorable moment of my career.”

Do you still keep in contact with your teammates?
“Oh yeah, there are probably 12-15 that I see on some sort of regular basis and there is a group I see in Overland Park pretty regularly. That was also something that Coach Fambrough did since he was a part of Kansas from the 1940s to the 1980s. He was kind of the draw, so we would have things built around him. With him not being here, I think that is a lost connection with a lot of people, but we will have to at least congregate together somehow.”

120811aaa_497_7246734.jpegWhat did you do once you graduated from KU?
“My first dream after college was to be a college football coach and I was able to be a graduate assistant for two years – one year with Coach Fambrough and one year with Mike Godfried. I then started teaching at the public schools here in Lawrence and have been a ninth grade teacher as well as a football coach for 17 years. I have also been a part of the radio station for Kansas football. Starting in 1982 I was an analyst for Channel Six for KU football broadcasts, which lasted for probably four or five years. Since 1994 I have been a part of the Jayhawk Radio Network working on the sidelines until 2006, when I was hired to be an analyst up in the booth. So I have been an educator, a coach and an analyst, which has pretty much been a dream job for me. I feel very fortunate to have has this opportunity.”

What was the transition like from the sideline to the radio booth and from coach to analyst?
“Coaching and analyzing the game are very different. I consider coaching as the most difficult, but most rewarding job that you can possibly have, because you give 100 percent of yourself and work very long hours. Being a radio analyst is much easier, so I guess I am very fortunate to have the ability to talk about football and be paid to watch a game. I love being involved with the Jayhawks and I honestly cannot see myself coaching or doing radio for another university, because I have that passion for this place.”

What is your most memorable moment broadcasting?
“No question there are two that stand out; the Orange Bowl and the 2008 Missouri game. I hope to have more memorable moments under the new coach that is coming in, but the come-from-behind victory over Missouri in 2008 as well as winning the first Orange Bowl in school history are undoubtedly the two highlights I have.”120811aaa_497_7246736.jpeg

What was speaking to the football team before the Missouri game like?
“I ended up speaking to the team last year because Don Fambrough was not doing very well, so they asked me, which was kind of bittersweet knowing that Coach Fambrough wasn’t going to do it. He spoke to the team before the Missouri game for probably 50 years and nobody talks about Missouri better than him, and no one ever will. I do feel though, that knowing him for the past 35 years has given me a lot of what he was, so that’s why I did it. I also spoke to the team before this year’s game.”

What advice would you give current KU student-athletes?
“I think my advice is that you tend to think that you are going to be a Jayhawk for the rest of your life. Your eligibility may end but I think it is the beginning of a lifelong relationship with the university, which I think is the best connection out there. I would also say to give your support in any way that you can to our Athletic Director (Sheahon Zenger), who is the right guy that will lead us back to some of our finest days.”

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