Kansas City sees itself as a big time sports city…
And face it, that’s really all that matters. Because deep down, we know that overall as fans we’ve been screwed. We haven’t had much national attention the last 70 years. But we’ve had our moments. So here are the top five coach’s/managers/leaders of our area’s big name pro and college teams. Since we’ve only got a handful of national titles the list is just five.
Here they are.
1) Without argument that title goes to Chiefs all-time best Hank Stram. Now a Hall of Famer. Hank led the Chiefs to TWO World Championship games. The Super Bowl. In a way our greatest moment may have been been being the first AFL team to go to the big game in the 1966 season. We lost to Green Bay, but just going was huge. Stram Coached the Kansas City Chiefs from 1963-1974. The Chiefs greatness ended in 1972 at home to the Miami Dolphins in what was then the longest game in NFL history.
Of course we lost.
Our greatest sports moment ever was winning the Super Bowl as a big underdog to the Vikings in 1970.
This team that was 11-3 may have been one of the greatest NFL teams of all time with quarterback Len Dawson and super star Otis Taylor running the NFL’s first so-called west coast offense. The Chiefs were the first wild card to win a super bowl. We beat Oakland on the road and then the Jets to get to New Orleans and win the big game. Stram was mic’d up and did his famous sideline cheers and talks to players that are still shown on sports TV. They represent the brightest sports moment in KC history.
Stram is still the man – No 1 – no question.
2) Roy Williams: KU Basketball Coach from 1990-2003.
Roy’s not too popular in some KU bars and on talk shows. He deserted Kansas for North Carolina, his alma mater, after promising to stay at Kansas. Not nice. Roy has too many records to count. From ’90-99 College Basketball’s best record, 286-60. Roy has four Final Fours and two Championship games – in ’91 a loss to Duke and 2003 a loss to Syracuse.
He never won the big one. Which leaves the door open to Bill Self.
3) Bill Self soon will be No. 2 on this list and one day he’ll be No. 1.
That is if he stays at KU. He already has a National Title, something no other KC area coach can get close to anymore. That came three years back in 2008. Self has led KU to six straight Big 12 titles. And Kansas is one of the elite teams in basketball, thanks mostly to Roy and Bill.
It may be the No. 2 program in America.
Kansas Basketball is the only truly dominate program we have – without it we kinda suck.
The Chiefs have had their moments – with Marty Schottenheimer – but they haven’t been great since the days of Hank Stram.
The Royals stink and have for 30 years, so they are toast. Thank God for KU and Bill Self.
4) Whitey Herzog, the Royals Best Manager: Whitey won three titles, the Western Division, from 1976-1979. But the New York Yankees defeated the Royals in classic playoff games each time. George Brett became a star, as did Amos Otis and Hal McRae.
Finally we had a great baseball team.
Then Herzog left for St. Louis in1980 and Jim Frey took Herzog’s team to the 1980 World Series. We lost, but beat the Yankees in the playoffs. That was a fantastic feeling with George Brett leading the way. Whitey would then win the World Series with the Cards in 1982.
5) Marty Schottenheimer, the Chiefs best coach since Hank Stram. Marty returned the Chiefs to the top in the ’90’s with a strong defense and big name players like Joe Montana, Marcus Allen and Derrick Thomas. But seven playoff games and only three wins. Marty had two 13-3 teams that both lost their first games at home. From 1989 until 1998 it was Marty Ball.
He just couldn’t win the big one!
That followed him to San Diego where he went 14-2 in his last season there, but still went out in game one of the playoffs.
Oh, there were a few other name leaders. Bill Snyder at K-State – but no cigars there. And sadly K-State Football is just is not up there on a national level. It’s been forgotten. Dan Devine had some good years with Missouri Football – good teams but no major national titles. He later went to Arizona State and Green Bay.
Honorable mention goes to the late Dick Howser: He won the 1985 World Series but died too young and he had no other big seasons.
These were the men who made us proud.
The future is bright with Bill Self and possibly the current Chiefs. The Royals totally suck and will continue to as long as David Glass owns the team..
Sorry but – aside from KU – our glory days are behind us.