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Archive for Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sports successes bolster KU’s alumni scene

August 16, 2008

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What could be better than being a Jayhawk fan when both the football and basketball teams are winning big?

Having them win big and being there to see it.

"I was really excited when I heard the Final Four would be in San Antonio, Texas, because I knew it would be easy to make it to the game," said Wayne Boechman of Fort Worth, Texas, a 1971 KU alumnus. "It was great being there when we beat North Carolina, and it was great being there when we won the championship."

KU alumni from across the country saw a resurgence in Jayhawk pride with the championship basketball team and the Orange Bowl champion football team.

And the KU Alumni Association reaped the benefits, too - the association saw a 10 percent increase in membership in the past year, from 40,000 to 44,000 members.

In Boechman's case, it was easy, since he could be in San Antonio for the Final Four.

"San Antonio is one of the best places to have a game with its River Walk, weather and people," he said.

But that's not just reserved for big games. Boechman and about 25 KU alumni gather regularly at an Arlington, Texas, bar to watch games.

Jim Sauer is another KU graduate who enjoyed the athletic success this year. He now lives in Austin, Texas.

Sauer says he isn't too fond of all of the University of Texas people down where he lives and has been kidded quite a bit with his KU hats, shirts and golf club head covers. But he said he's received a lot more respect in the past few months when he wears these items following KU's big wins in basketball and football.

The KU Alumni Association has tried to take advantage of that athletic success by planning parties tied to the games.

Kevin Corbett, president and CEO of the Alumni Association, said the pre-game parties, such as the one at Calver Racetrack in Florida for the Orange Bowl, which set a record with 5,000 alumni present, and the pre-game party at the Convention Center in San Antonio (approximately 4,400 alumni) have a two-fold purpose: celebrate the past season and prepare fans for the upcoming game.

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