KU Athletics, Alumni Association Kickoff 2013-14 Season

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. – Family, enthusiasm and success were among the major themes touched on by a quartet of Kansas head coaches who addressed thousands of Jayhawk fans who joined Kansas Athletics and the KU Alumni Association for the annual KU Kickoff at Corinth Square Friday evening. 

Kansas football head coach Charlie Weis, men’s basketball coach Bill Self, women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson, track and field coach Stanley Redwine, and Athletics Director Dr. Sheahon Zenger each addressed the crowd in Prairie Village, emphasizing their cohesive support for each other’s programs, celebrating successes of the past year and encouraging all fans to help set the tone for a new year along with the football team this fall.  

“It’s a great time of year,” Self said. “It’s a new year with a new enthusiasm. What we really need is for you to believe in what we are doing in football and to take ownership of us being good. It’s like the chicken or the egg. Are you going to wait and see if we’re going to be good and then come out or are you going to come out to support us and give us the best chance to be good early. Nothing brings more energy or enthusiasm to a school year than the football being good in September and October.”

KU’s band and cheerleaders entertained, while inflatable games, multiple vendors and various KU giveaways were also available. Each coach signed autographs, posed for photos and met with the media prior to addressing the crowd. Following the speeches, live music was provided by SELLOUT.

Weis, who led his team through its 11th fall camp practice earlier in the day on the practice fields outside Memorial Stadium, talked to those in attendance about changing the mentality surrounding the football program and affirmed his committment to building a winning program.

“In November last year when we were nailing down this recruiting class, I figured what we needed to do was really change the psyche of Kansas football,” Weis said. “Anytime you look at Allen Fieldhouse you already feel it when you walk into the arena. You can feel that there is no way we are losing at home. I know, as the football coach, my job is to bring a winning product back to Kansas football, so that you are going to want to come to more games. My job isn’t to just give you a reason to cheer, my job is to get back to winning games.”

Henrickson and Redwine represented two of KU’s most successful teams during the 2012-13 campaigns with the women’s basketball team making its second straight run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and the women’s track and field team capturing the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championship – KU’s first women’s team title. Both reiterated support for other programs and looked ahead for more success this season. 

“We’re excited that its football season,” Henrickson said. “Charlie (Weis) hit the nail on the head – we all support each other, more than any other place I’ve been. We are all excited for (head track & field coach) Stanley (Redwine) and his group on their success this past season. We’re excited about where all the programs are headed and their successes.” 

Redwine added: “We did have an exciting year with a lot of success, but more importantly, we had great support from the top (administration). We put a lot of hard work into it, just like the football team, the basketball teams and any other teams at KU. We’re all excited about the KU family. We need everyone out here to support our Jayhawks. Rock Chalk Park is one of our places we are really excited about. When the Kansas relays move to Rock Chalk Park, we are really looking forward to everyone coming out. We want the football team to have a great kickoff because they set the tone for everyone else.”

“My job is to get us back to winning games!” – @CoachWeisKansas at the KU Kickoff #RockChalk

— Kansas Jayhawks (@KUAthletics) August 16, 2013

Weekend festivities continue in Lawrence Saturday when the football team will hosts Fan Appreciation Day at Memorial Stadium. The gates on the west side of the stadium will open at 10:45 a.m., with practice slated to begin at 11:15 a.m. Cameras will not be allowed to be used inside the stadium until the completion of practice.

Weis and the Jayhawk players, who will be set up at tables by position group, will sign autographs for 30 minutes following the conclusion of practice. KU football posters, rosters and other promotional items will be available for the team to sign. Any other items brought for signing will have to be personalized by Weis and the KU players. Additionally, the Hy-Vee Hawk Zone, full of inflatables games for children, will be open from 9-11 a.m., at the KU football practice fields adjacent to Memorial Stadium on the southeast corner.

Kansas will open the 2013 football season by hosting South Dakota on Saturday, Sept. 7 in Memorial Stadium. Game time is slated for 6 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by contacting the Kansas Ticket Office at 1-800-34-HAWKS or via the web at KUAthletics.com.

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