The Past Prevails in Fourth-Annual Alumni Game
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas baseball team welcomed back its alumni Saturday morning to honor the memory of legendary coach Floyd Temple in the Fourth-Annual Floyd Temple Alumni Game at Hoglund Ballpark.
Temple held the reins of the program from 1954-81, where he amassed 438 victories to become KU’s winningest coach. During his 28-season tenure, he coached seven future Major Leaguers, including his son, Biff Temple. After retiring from coaching, Floyd Temple served as an assistant athletic director at the university from 1981-92.
“It is a great way to honor coach Temple’s memory– his life and how important he was in the lives of so many student-athletes at the University of Kansas,” head coach Ritch Price said. “It is awesome to see the different generations come together and you are starting to see a lot of my guys come back as they end their professional baseball careers. At one time, I think nine-straight guys went up there that were playing pro ball.”
Over 30 Jayhawks returned to honor Temple’s memory and the alumni squad used its talent to win the abbreviated three-inning game, 3-1, against the current Kansas team. Former KU utility man from 2014-15 Blair Beck earned the win on the bump after tossing two innings and allowing one run. Former pitcher from 2012-15 Colin Toalson came on in the third to shut the door with a perfect frame for the save.
“I love being around these guys,” Beck said. “The older guys paved the way for us and are fun to be around. Being able to come back and see my old teammates is always fun, especially when you get the win. I didn’t know I was going to be on the bump until five minutes before game time. It was fun.”
The alumni relied on a huge home run from catcher/first baseman (2010-13) Alex DeLeon in the second inning off associate head coach Ryan Graves, who picked up the loss, to get on the board. A two-run top of the third sealed the deal and left breathing room for Toalson to shut the door.
However, the game wasn’t the most important thing Price wanted his current squad to take away from today, but rather the importance of acknowledging the past with the present.
“To see all those young men in that dugout who have graduated and love the University of Kansas move on to be successful in life is something that gives all coaches gratitude,” Price said. “I hope my players see how important today was and take the opportunity to say thank you. A lot of the gentlemen who are alumni are major donors to our program and have helped us improve Hoglund Ballpark. You want that interaction between our current players and our former players, because without them, what you see today wouldn’t be possible.”
Former Kansas centerfielder from 2011-14 Tucker Tharp couldn’t agree more.
“It is all about family,” Tharp said. “Getting everybody back together and reliving the good times together is what it is all about.”
Following the abbreviated game, the varsity squad broke off into two teams for intrasquad action before the KU football team lined up against Oklahoma to wrap up the Homecoming festivities.
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