Saturday Column: KU announcers should get separate recognition
Bob Davis, “the voice of the Jayhawks,” will be retiring at the end of the current Kansas University basketball season. Hopefully, his broadcasting will continue well past the post-season Big 12 conference tournament in Kansas City and deep into the NCAA basketball championship tournament.
Davis has been behind the microphone telling the KU athletics story for the past 32 years. He has done a good job, is highly regarded within the broadcasting fraternity and has conducted himself, both professionally and personally, in a manner that reflects credit on the university.
During the current basketball campaign, he has been recognized and honored by athletic departments of Big 12 schools and received numerous gifts and mementos.
Some years ago, a banner was hung from the rafters in the southwest corner of Allen Fieldhouse to honor longtime KU announcer Max Falkenstien. This banner was placed alongside the jerseys of basketball greats who played at KU. If banners are to be awarded and displayed to honor KU broadcasters (paid employees of the athletic department), it seems proper for such banners to be placed in a separate area, not among the jerseys honoring the true greats among KU players. Broadcasters should have their own area within the fieldhouse, perhaps in one of the attractive display cases that line the hallways of Allen Fieldhouse.
The issue of who should be honored by signs or jerseys in the fieldhouse has been a topic of debate for years, and the policy has been modified depending on the whims and wishes of various athletic directors and coaches.
In early days, only those players selected as All-Americans by specific organizations were recognized and had their names placed on a large painted board at the north end of the fieldhouse. There were heated arguments among longtime loyal KU alumni and basketball fans when additional names were added, or not added, particularly when some of those added did not meet the original strict requirements. Later, more categories were created, which made more players eligible for recognition.
Again, athletic directors and coaches have established their own rules or qualification. It has been suggested that some coaches have used the possibility of having a player’s jersey raised in Allen Fieldhouse as a great recruiting tool.
It is almost a sure bet Davis will be recognized and honored for his long career. However, when an appropriate means of recognizing Davis is decided, whether it’s a banner, a sign, a plaque, a formal resolution or maybe a large photograph of Davis behind a microphone, it, along with Falkenstien’s banner should be placed at a different fieldhouse location, not among the jerseys worn by the school’s great players.