MANHATTAN, Kan. – Pat McKenzie, a three-year letterman for Kansas State (1959-62) and a starter on the 1961 Big Eight Championship team, recently passed away (November 18) at the age of 81 in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
Born on March 3, 1940, in South Bend, Indiana, McKenzie played three seasons (1959-62) for Hall of Fame head coach Tex Winter, leading the Wildcats during a period of great success that included consecutive 22-win seasons in 1960-61 and 1961-62 and a pair of Big Eight Conference regular-season titles (1959-60, 1960-61). He was part of teams that finished among the top-10 in both 1960-61 (No. 4 AP and UPI) and 1961-62 (No. 5 UPI and No. 6 AP).
McKenzie was a regular starter for K-State in 1960-61 and 1961-62, helping the Wildcats to a 44-8 overall record, including a 25-3 mark in Big Eight, and a trip to the 1961 NCAA Midwest Regional Final, where they lost 69-64 to eventual national champion Cincinnati in a top-4 matchup. As a senior in 1961-62, he started all 25 games for a squad that might be one of the best Wildcat teams to not make the NCAA Tournament, as they finished as the Big Eight runner-up with a 12-2 record and a 22-3 overall record. McKenzie nearly averaged a double-double, averaging 11 points and a team-best 9.4 rebounds per game in 1961-62.
For his playing career, McKenzie averaged 6.9 points on nearly 40 percent shooting and 64.6 percent shooting from the free throw line with 6.7 rebounds in 74 games played, including 50 starts.
McKenzie was a teammate of Mike Wroblewski, who was recently inducted into the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame, in both high school and college. Both attended St. Joseph’s High School in South Bend, Indiana.
Upon graduating, McKenzie was drafted by the Chicago Packers in the 15th round of the 1962 NBA Draft. He opted for more education, earning both a master’s and Ph.D. in accounting, before accepting a professorship at Arizona State University, where he taught for 27 years before retiring in 1997. He also taught at Fort Lewis and did a visiting professorship at UNLV and taught at universities in Finland and Macedonia.
McKenzie is survived by his wife of 58, Sheila, with whom he met at K-State, as well as four children (Erin, Michael, Tina and Theresa), nine grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Mike, and sister, Vicki.
A memorial service will be held at 9:30 a.m., CT on Saturday, December 11 at Pope John Paul II Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Seeds of Learning in Pagosa Springs, Colorado or the Pagosa Springs Humane Society.