Kansas Athletics Announces The Marian E. Washington Trailblazer Series

In honor of Black History Month, Kansas Athletics is recognizing the notable achievements and accomplishments of African-Americans who have helped shape the Jayhawk program throughout the years by creating the Marian E. Washington Trailblazer Series. Each February, this new endeavor will chronicle several prominent African-Americans and their impact on Kansas Athletics.

Quote from KU Director of Athletics Jeff Long:
“We are proud to create this new series honoring the Trailblazers who were paramount in furthering the African-American student-athlete advancement here at KU and beyond. Marian E. Washington’s impact is evident when you read and hear stories from those she influenced and how it extends far beyond sports. As the first Women’s Athletic Director at the University of Kansas under Title IX, Marian established our women’s intercollegiate athletics program under this new federal legislation in 1974. Many young women have benefited greatly from her sacrifices and efforts from the trail she blazed. She is the definition of a trailblazer and we are pleased to properly name this the Marian E. Washington Trailblazer Series.”

Quote from Marian E. Washington:
“I’m very excited to be associated with this new KU series. I feel that there are so many people of color that have contributed to our great university and it’s wonderful that we’re giving our fanbase, alums and community an opportunity to learn more about them. It’s a real honor for me and it’s one of the most important initiatives that we preserve and tell the stories of these great Kansas Jayhawk trailblazers. This series will provide a legacy my family will be very proud of.”

During the month of February, the series will honor one Trailblazer per week detailed below. Each individual being recognized will have highlights featuring their impact at KU as well as interviews from those who interacted with or were influenced by these remarkable individuals. On Thursday, February 6th, Marian E. Washington joins The Jayhawker Podcast to share stories of her time at KU and what being a Trailblazer means to her. To download the episode or subscribe to The Jayhawker, visit your preferred podcast platform: Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Play.

Week 1 – Marian E. Washington

  • Former Kansas women’s basketball coach for 31 seasons, compiling a 560–363 record from 1973-2004.
  • Served as the first Athletics Director for Women’s Athletics under Title IX at the University of Kansas from 1974-79.
  • Washington was the first African-American woman to coach a United States women’s basketball team in international competition.
  • In 1974, after her first season as the women’s head basketball coach, she started the intercollegiate women’s track and field program and served as the head coach its first year.
  • Was one of the first two African-American women to compete internationally, representing the United States at the 1971 World Championship in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Week 2 – John McLendon

  • Was the first African-American to earn a Physical Education degree from the University of Kansas in 1937.
  • Helped integrate the Robinson Gymnasium swimming pool while a student at KU.
  • A two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (enshrined as a contributor in 1979 and as a coach in 2016), he became the first African-American to coach professional basketball (Cleveland Pipers).
  • He was the first African-American to be on a U.S. Olympic coaching staff.
  • Established the John McLendon Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Program which awards eight $10,000 postgraduate scholarships to minority candidates who are planning to pursue a master’s degree in athletics administration/sport management.

Week 3 – Curtis McClinton

  • A member of the Kansas Football Ring of Honor, Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame, and Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame, McClinton was among the first African-American football players at KU.
  • He was drafted by the Dallas Texans (now the Kansas City Chiefs) of the American Football League (AFL) and later became the first AFL player to score a touchdown in a Super Bowl.
  • Also a standout on the KU track team, he was the 1960 Big 8 Indoor High Hurdles Champion.
  • Graduated from KU in 1962 before continuing his pursuit of higher education by earning his master’s from Central Michigan, doctorate from Miles College and then pursuing further post-graduate studies at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
  • Served as the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development in Washington D.C.
  • Created the McClinton Development Company in Kansas City which helped build affordable housing.

Week 4 – Stanley Redwine

  • A member of the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame, Redwine was a four-time All-American middle-distance runner at Arkansas (1980-83).
  • Redwine is currently in his 20th season as the head coach of the Kansas men’s and women’s track & field and cross country programs. He became the first African-American men’s track coach in KU History.
  • Over his 20 years at KU, Redwine has coached 12 individual national champions, 76 first team All-Americans and eight Olympians.
  • In 2013, he coached the outdoor women’s team to the first and only women’s team National Championship at KU earning him USTFCCCA Women’s Head Coach of the Year honors.
  • Was a five-time Olympic Trials qualifier in the 800-meter run and two-time U.S. Champion before retiring from competition in 1996.
  • Named a Team USA assistant coach for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.