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.

  • 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.

"She and a small handful of others pioneered the growth of women's basketball."

Bill Self, Head Men's Basketball Coach

Episode 5: Marian Washington | Feb. 6, 2020
Marian E. Washington is not only a Hall of Fame coach, she’s a pioneer for women and African Americans in college athletics.

In this week’s edition of The Jayhawker, Washington tells her story of small town Pennsylvania girl turned Olympic gold medalist, and all the milestones and trails blazed in between. Her career is truly one of many remarkable firsts, including being one of the first two African American women to play for the U.S. National Team and one of the first African American women coach in a major conference (19:19).

She also shares her story of how another KU legend put her on a path to landing at Kansas (8:08), and what it was like recruiting and coaching arguably the greatest college women’s basketball player ever, Lynette Woodard (24:50).

We also talk about another one of her milestones — becoming the first African American woman to coach in the Olympics (31:21) and a key part of her legacy she accomplished while serving as President of the Black Coaches Association. Finally, Washington tells us what her time at KU meant to her (43:23).

  • 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.
Kansas Jayhawks
  • 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.
  • 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.