By Darren Hellwege, KBIA Sports Director
“I will always bleed black and gold until the day I die.”
With those words, an emotional Khris Whelan wrapped up an evening’s celebration of the greatness of Mizzou athletics, accepting induction along with five other all-time Tiger greats into the University of Missouri Athletics Hall of Fame Friday night at the Courtyard by Marriot in Columbia. Whelan, a two-time All-American for Bob Kopniski (Hall of Fame class of 2000) was joined in this year’s class by football center Scott Anderson, Madill “Bud” Gartiser who was one of the best hurdlers of his time in the world, baseball and football star Hank Kuhlman, and the athletes chosen the top male and female Tigers of the first decade of the 21st century, quarterback Brad Smith and volleyballer Lindsey Hunter.
Tiger football and basketball play-by-play announcer Mike Kelly served as Master of Ceremonies for the event, and gave the crowd one of the biggest thrills of the night when he recognized the service to Mizzou of John Kadlec (Hall of Fame class of 1996) who recently announced his retirement after being a part of Mizzou athletics as player, coach, announcer and administrator for over 60 years. “If you think about the longevity this man has had, and the service he has given to this institution, and in particular the athletic department, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find any former student-athlete who’s served MU like this man has. I love him, and I’ll miss our private 4-hour conversation on Saturday,” remarked Kelly before the crowd recognized Kadlec with a long standing ovation.
Mizzou Director of Athletics Mike Alden highlighted the importance of the event, telling KBIA, “we’ve done a good job of impressing on our current athletes what Hank Kuhlmann and Madill Gartiser have done for our programs. Folks that are currently part of our student-athlete group understand that they’re standing on the shoulders of people like Hank Kuhlmann and Brad Smith, it’s important and our student-athletes really respect that.”
The induction started with Scott Anderson, a three-year letterman at center for the Tigers and All-American in 1973. After his first team went 1-10, the Tigers improved greatly in his later years and his senior season saw Mizzou go 8-4 including a thrilling 13-12 win over Nebraska and a victory over Auburn in the Sun Bowl. Anderson played in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings before his career was cut short by a knee injury. Anderson thanked many of his teammates and coaches including his offensive line coach Kadlec, whom he called one of the greatest men in his life, along with his father, grandfather, and uncle. “He gave me a blueprint for life, really more about life than football, and had the guts to always tell me the truth. Coach, I just want to thank for you for all you’ve done, and are still doing, for this university. As much as I appreciate this honor, and I will treasure this for all the days of my life, my true honor and privilege was to be coached by you. You’re the best of the best and I love you with all my heart.”
Kelly then recognized the accomplishments of Madill “Bud” Gartiser. A track star for the Tigers from 1946-1948, Gartiser at one time held the world record for indoor time in the 60-yard low hurdles. He was the national champ in the 200 meter hurdles in 1948 and won conference titles for the Tigers as well. Gartiser competed at Mizzou for Coach Tom Botts, part of the inaugural class of the Missouri Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990, and also a member of the US Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Lindsey Hunter was unable to attend the event, as she is currently playing for Valencianas de Juncos in the professional volleyball league in Puerto Rico. Hunter, an All-American setter for the Tigers voted the female athlete of the decade of 2000-2010, was represented by her mom who teased the snow-weary Missourians by telling stories of Lindsey’s time on the beach in Puerto Rico. Volleyball coach Wayne Kreklow noted that Hunter’s contributions to the university and volleyball program have continued to the present, as she does an excellent job providing analysis for MU volleyball radio broadcasts.
Part of some of the best football and baseball teams in school history, Hank Kuhlman made a career of coaching football after his years as a Tiger athlete. He played for some of the greatest coaches ever in both sports, as part a national runner-up baseball club for John “Hi” Simmons and playing football for Don Faurot, Frank Broyles and Dan Devine during a time of great changes in the Tiger program. Kuhlman later served as an assistant for Devine, following him from Mizzou to Notre Dame and the Green Bay Packers and working for many years as an NFL assistant coach, and for a short stint as interim head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. “That’s what team sports are about, football or baseball…when you love each other, and you work together, there’s so many things that can happen out of it, and you can see it at the professional level, the college level and the high school level.”
One of the greatest running quarterbacks ever in college football, Brad Smith was part of a renaissance of Mizzou Tiger football. He set 69 records for MU, Big 12 and NCAA football. Smith, whose fine young son entertained the crowd for much of the night, showed his respect for the history of Tiger athletics by noting that while many credit him with the greatness of Tiger football, the teams of the 60s were the true standard of greatness. He also drew the biggest laugh of the night by noting that today’s players play for a “New and improved coach Pinkel, we had the tough guy.” Smith continues to play the game at the highest level, as a wide receiver and special teams dynamo for the NFL’s New York Jets.
The first ever two-time All-American in the history of MU wrestling, Khris Whelan starred for the Tigers from 1979-1983. He won 97 consecutive matches and finished with the school record for career victories. He gave credit to former MU coach Wes Roper who brought him back into the sport after a neck injury ended his wrestling career. Whelan was an MU assistant, and is still coaching at Cahokia, Ill. High School. When asked which member of the MU Hall of Fame he was most excited about sharing the honor with, Whelan gave the same answer Brad Smith did to the same question…the only member of this Hall who also is part of the NFL Hall of Fame, Kellen Winslow.
These six Tiger legends join Winslow and the dozens of others honored with induction in the University of Missouri Athletics Hall of Fame. The full list can be found here.