KU greats inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame
MULVANE, Kan. – University of Kansas swimming standout Tammy Thomas Ammons and men’s basketball stalwart Nick Collison were formally inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (KSHOF) Class of 2019 at Sunday evening ceremony at the Event Center Ballroom at the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kan., just south of Wichita.
Thomas Ammons was a two-time NCAA swimming national champion at KU winning the 50m and 100m freestyle in 1983. The Lawton, Okla., native was a 17-time All-American selection with five in 1980, three in 1981, three in 1982 and six in 1983. Thomas Ammons was KU’s first swimmer to earn All-America honors four straight years. Additionally, she won 12 Big Eight Conference titles and was named the 1983 co-Big Eight Athlete of the Year. Thomas Ammons also set the American record in the 100 free and the 50 free as a senior at KU and helped lead KU to seventh-place NCAA team finish in 1983.
“They called me on the phone and I was more shocked than anything else, with it being 30 years down the road,” Thomas Ammons said when she first heard she would be inducted. “My family has been extremely supportive and is really excited for me. It’s just a very, very great honor.”
Thomas Ammons also competed in the U.S. Nationals, U.S. Long Course Championships, the World University Games and the World Games. She has also been inducted to the KU Booth Hall of Athletics.
“All of the morning practices that we went to at five o’clock in the morning,” Thomas Ammons recalls from her days at KU. “Working out with all the girls there. Meeting Marian Washington and Lynette Woodard; all the people I met that were part of the history. It’s just incredible to be part of that.”
Collison came to KU after earning McDonald’s All-American honors at Iowa Falls High School in Iowa Falls, Iowa. Collison was a four-year letterwinner while at KU and was named Consensus All-American First Team his senior season in 2002-03. Collison was a two-time All-Big 12 First Team honoree and was named the 2003 NABC National Player of the Year and the 2003 Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year. He concluded his KU career as Big 12 Conference career leader in scoring and rebounds. His 2,097 points are second on the KU career list and his 1,143 all-time rebounds are third. Collison was part of two Kansas Final Four appearances in 2002 and 2003. After Kansas, Collison was drafted in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft by the Seattle Supersonics. He played 14 NBA seasons with the same franchise, the Seattle Supersonics and Oklahoma City Thunder, averaging 5.9 points and 5.2 rebounds in 910 games. Kansas retired Collison’s jersey in 2003 as did the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2019.
“I was surprised when I got the call, it was really cool” Collison said. “I really enjoyed my time playing at Kansas. It’s been a while since I’ve been in school, time flies. I grew up in Iowa. I played in the NBA in Seattle and Oklahoma City but that time in Kansas was so important to me. It’s cool to be tied to the state for something like this.”
KU voice of the Jayhawks Brian Hanni served as the emcee for the ceremony. Joining Ammons and Collison in the KSHOF Class of 2019 are four-time Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference football coach of the year and long-time athletic administrator at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, Gene Bissell; Washburn University head basketball coach with 800+ career wins, including the 1987 NAIA National title, Bob Chipman; 2003 first-team All-American and Big 12 Volleyball Player of the Year at Kansas State University, Lauren Goehring Cost; two-time All-American basketball selection at the University of Arkansas and eleven year NBA veteran, Scott Hastings, from Independence; three-time Missouri Valley Conference basketball selection from Wichita State University and seven year ABA veteran, Warren Jabali; two-time All-American basketball selection at Washburn University and member of the 1987 NAIA National Championship team, Tom Meier, from Topeka; two-time All-American baseball selection at Wichita State University and twelve year MLB veteran, Mike Pelfrey, from Wichita; two-time Missouri Valley Conference baseball selection at Wichita State University and nine year MLB veteran, Nate Robertson, from Maize; high school track champion and member of UCLA’s 1964 NCAA basketball championship team, Fred Slaughter, from Topeka; eleven year head coach of the Wichita Wings indoor soccer team and Tournament Director of the Wichita Open professional golf tournament, Roy Turner; 2005 Atlantic Coast Conference football selection at Florida State University and nine year NFL veteran, Kamerion Wembley, from Wichita. Gene Bissell, Warren Jabali, and Fred Slaughter, were honored posthumously.