Wisconsinites adopt Jayhawks as their own

Nick Collison signs autographs for KU fans after an open practice in Madison, Wis. The Jayhawks practiced Thursday at Kohl Center, where fans attending this weekend's Midwest Regional were able to watch their favorite teams.

? Diane and Amy Nichols proclaimed Thursday they were unofficially the two most devout KU basketball fans who have never worked, studied or lived in Kansas.

Here’s proof: In October, these sisters drove nine hours from Madison to sit in line for three hours to get a seat in Allen Fieldhouse for the KU basketball mayhem of “Late Night.”

“We were the second group in the door,” said Diane, an agricultural business consultant who sported a Jayhawk sweatshirt in downtown Madison.

“And we’ll do it again,” chimed Amy, a plant research scientist.

The women grew up on a dairy farm near Prairie du Chien, Wis., and got hooked on the Jayhawks when Raef LaFrentz left Monona, Iowa, to play hoops at KU. Prairie Du Chien and Monona are 30 minutes apart.

Kansas University fans, from left, Jordan Taylor, 12; Taylor Jayne, 12; and his mother, Kari Jayne, check over their media guide and the KU basketball player autographs they managed to get at the Jayhawks' practice in Madison, Wis. Drue Davis, 10, second from far right, and Natalie Edmondson, 9, far right, are Jayhawk fans from Lawrence who made the trek to Madison.

Drue Davis and Natalie Edmondson leaned over a Kohl Center railing in their quest to snag an autograph and take photographs of their favorite KU player Drew Gooden.

Edmondson, 9, and Davis, 10, both attend Quail Run School in Lawrence and are staying at a relative’s house in Madison during KU’s action in the Midwest Regional of the NCAA Tournament. The home’s owners are on vacation.

(Don’t tell anyone about the jumping on the beds.)

Davis said the duo went to the KU’s public, one-hour practice session because they couldn’t afford tickets to the KU-Illinois game.

“This is great because we can see the players up close,” Davis said.

Edmondson added: “Also, we can brag about this at home.”

Three-sport college sports star Pat Richter slipped through the Jayhawks’ fingers in the late 1950s.

In spring of 1959, Richter visited the KU campus to meet with coach Dick Harp about a basketball scholarship. Oddly, Richter never set foot in Allen Fieldhouse.

“I committed,” said Richter, now athletics director at University of Wisconsin. “Back in those days, it wasn’t binding like it is today.”

After returning home to Madison from Lawrence, Richter reconsidered his decision. He backed out of his pledge to Harp and signed with UW to play basketball, football and baseball.

In football, he was an All-America player and was with the Washington Redskins for eight years.

After his pro career wound down, he went to law school and did corporate legal work for 18 years. He’s been UW’s athletics director for 13 years.

Sarah Job is keeping an eye on Jeanne Doege’s cherished Jayhawk statue on the Concourse Hotel’s front desk.

Doege, human relations director at the Concourse, where the KU players are staying, left the hefty bust of a tough-looking Jayhawk in Job’s care while on vacation.

“She had this trip planned a long time ago,” said Job, a front-desk receptionist. “When she found out KU was coming, she was so disappointed.”

Gary Chinn and Molly Martin, who graduated from University of Texas before moving to Madison, tried to buy tickets for Friday’s game between Oregon and their alma mater.

“We were hoping to, but it doesn’t look good,” Chinn said while watching the Longhorns’ practice at Kohl Center. “I found two tickets. They wanted $850.”

That’s a bit more than Martin, a doctoral student at University of Wisconsin, is willing to shell out.

Not that they wouldn’t love to witness KU fall in Madison, she said. There’s still a bitter taste in her mouth from games in which KU drubbed Texas.

“We’ve seen a couple 30-point blowouts,” she said.

Wisconsinites adopt Jayhawks as their own

Nick Collison signs autographs for KU fans after an open practice in Madison, Wis. The Jayhawks practiced Thursday at Kohl Center, where fans attending this weekend's Midwest Regional were able to watch their favorite teams.

? Diane and Amy Nichols proclaimed Thursday they were unofficially the two most devout KU basketball fans who have never worked, studied or lived in Kansas.

Here’s proof: In October, these sisters drove nine hours from Madison to sit in line for three hours to get a seat in Allen Fieldhouse for the KU basketball mayhem of “Late Night.”

“We were the second group in the door,” said Diane, an agricultural business consultant who sported a Jayhawk sweatshirt in downtown Madison.

“And we’ll do it again,” chimed Amy, a plant research scientist.

The women grew up on a dairy farm near Prairie du Chien, Wis., and got hooked on the Jayhawks when Raef LaFrentz left Monona, Iowa, to play hoops at KU. Prairie Du Chien and Monona are 30 minutes apart.

Kansas University fans, from left, Jordan Taylor, 12; Taylor Jayne, 12; and his mother, Kari Jayne, check over their media guide and the KU basketball player autographs they managed to get at the Jayhawks' practice in Madison, Wis. Drue Davis, 10, second from far right, and Natalie Edmondson, 9, far right, are Jayhawk fans from Lawrence who made the trek to Madison.

Drue Davis and Natalie Edmondson leaned over a Kohl Center railing in their quest to snag an autograph and take photographs of their favorite KU player Drew Gooden.

Edmondson, 9, and Davis, 10, both attend Quail Run School in Lawrence and are staying at a relative’s house in Madison during KU’s action in the Midwest Regional of the NCAA Tournament. The home’s owners are on vacation.

(Don’t tell anyone about the jumping on the beds.)

Davis said the duo went to the KU’s public, one-hour practice session because they couldn’t afford tickets to the KU-Illinois game.

“This is great because we can see the players up close,” Davis said.

Edmondson added: “Also, we can brag about this at home.”

Three-sport college sports star Pat Richter slipped through the Jayhawks’ fingers in the late 1950s.

In spring of 1959, Richter visited the KU campus to meet with coach Dick Harp about a basketball scholarship. Oddly, Richter never set foot in Allen Fieldhouse.

“I committed,” said Richter, now athletics director at University of Wisconsin. “Back in those days, it wasn’t binding like it is today.”

After returning home to Madison from Lawrence, Richter reconsidered his decision. He backed out of his pledge to Harp and signed with UW to play basketball, football and baseball.

In football, he was an All-America player and was with the Washington Redskins for eight years.

After his pro career wound down, he went to law school and did corporate legal work for 18 years. He’s been UW’s athletics director for 13 years.

Sarah Job is keeping an eye on Jeanne Doege’s cherished Jayhawk statue on the Concourse Hotel’s front desk.

Doege, human relations director at the Concourse, where the KU players are staying, left the hefty bust of a tough-looking Jayhawk in Job’s care while on vacation.

“She had this trip planned a long time ago,” said Job, a front-desk receptionist. “When she found out KU was coming, she was so disappointed.”

Gary Chinn and Molly Martin, who graduated from University of Texas before moving to Madison, tried to buy tickets for Friday’s game between Oregon and their alma mater.

“We were hoping to, but it doesn’t look good,” Chinn said while watching the Longhorns’ practice at Kohl Center. “I found two tickets. They wanted $850.”

That’s a bit more than Martin, a doctoral student at University of Wisconsin, is willing to shell out.

Not that they wouldn’t love to witness KU fall in Madison, she said. There’s still a bitter taste in her mouth from games in which KU drubbed Texas.

“We’ve seen a couple 30-point blowouts,” she said.