Kansas Men’s Basketball Trio Inducted into Kansas Sports Hall of Fame
WICHITA, Kan. – Three members of the 1952 Kansas men’s basketball national championship team – Al Kelley, Bob Kenney and Bill Lienhard – were inducted into State of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (KSHOF) Sunday in Wichita. The trio was part of an eight-member Class of 2013 in ceremonies at the Wichita Boathouse.
Joining Kelley, Kenney and Lienhard in the KSHOF Class of 2013 are Wichita Carroll’s All-American defensive end Mike Bell; Pittsburg State’s three-time national football coach-of-the-year Chuck Broyles; K-State’s two-time All-American place kicker Martín Gramática; and Clay Center’s two-time All-American basketball player Nicole Ohlde of Kansas State. University of Kentucky basketball All-American and former Boston Celtic Bob Brannum of Winfield will be enshrined posthumously.
“I’m blessed, humbled and grateful to be inducted,” Kenney said. “I don’t have all the fancy credentials that other honorees have, but with my teammates’ help I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve — to be a winner.”
All three Jayhawks represented the United States in the Olympic Games with Kenney and Lienhard winning gold in 1952 and Kelley in 1960.
“Thank you so much for this honor,” Lienhard said. “I attribute my basketball success to my great coaches and teammates. Dick Harp was a great innovator, and Phog (Allen) was a master motivator.”
Kelley’s 1960 U.S. Olympic team was also inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
“I was delighted when Dick Harp came to McCune (Kan.) to offer me a scholarship,” Kelley said. “I’m a Kansan by birth, but a Jayhawk by the grace of God. I wasn’t as good as Jerry West and Oscar Robertson, but I had fun on the bench (at the Olympics).”
The 2013 eight-person class raises the total number of inductees to 227 in the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, which is celebrating its 52nd anniversary this year.
A native of McCune, Kan., Earl Allen “Al” Kelley was a standout on the University of Kansas basketball teams from 1952 to 1954 and went on to become an Olympic gold medalist in 1960. Kelley saw limited playing time on the 1952 KU national championship team as a sophomore but came into his own during his junior season in 1953 when the Jayhawks finished as the national runner-up. Kelley averaged 12.9 points per game as a junior and 12.4 points per game as a senior co-captain of the team in 1954. He was named to the All-Big Seven team in both 1953 and 1954. Kelley still ranks in the top 10 all-time at KU for season free throw percentage when he dropped in 86.2 percent in 1954. Following his collegiate career, Kelley was drafted in the seventh round of the 1954 NBA draft, although he instead chose to play for the AAU powerhouse Peoria (Ill.) Caterpillars. In his first season with the Caterpillars in 1954, Kelley helped lead the team to the AAU national title and the 1954 World Basketball Championship in Brazil. He was selected to play on the Olympic team for the 1960 Rome Games where the United States claimed gold, beating every opponent by an average score of over 40 points per game. As a result of the historic run, the entire 1960 US Olympic team, including Kelley, was the first Olympic team to be enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Robert “Bob” Kenney (Winfield, Kan.) was also a member of the 1952 Kansas national championship team and was a member of the 1952 Olympic gold medal team. A three-sport star for Winfield High School in the late 1940s, Kenney played both football and basketball at KU in 1950 and 1951 before deciding to just play basketball during his senior year of 1952. He was second on the team in scoring in both 1951 and 1952 and was a captain of the 1952 championship squad. Kenney was also an All-Big Seven selection in 1952. One of seven Jayhawks selected to play on the 1952 U.S. Olympic team, Kenney was second on the U.S. team in scoring and averaged 10.9 points per contest. He scored in double digits four times in eight games and was a major contributor for the gold medal team. He was also a member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal in the 1955 Pan American Games.
William B. “Bill” Lienhard (Newton, Kan.) was another standout on the star-studded 1952 KU national championship team and a member of the 1952 Olympic gold medal squad. After earning All-State honors and leading the state in scoring his senior year for Coach John Ravenscroft at Newton High School in 1948, Lienhard attended KU where he was a three-year starter for Coach Phog Allen. Lienhard was named a captain of the 1952 team and averaged 5.8 points per game during that championship season. His calling card was an outstanding one-handed set shot which the KU game program described as “deadly against zone defenses” and described Lienhard as the “finest one-hand set shooter in Kansas basketball history.” He was selected to play on the 1952 Olympic team where he averaged 4.0 points per game on the way to winning a gold medal.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.