MANHATTAN, Kansas – K-State Athletics will honor a group of 11 outstanding individuals with induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame in September, school officials announced today.
The 2020 Hall of Fame class includes three football greats in David Allen, Jordy Nelson and Darren Sproles, Laurie Koehn (women’s basketball), Liz Wegner (volleyball), A.J. Morris (baseball), Mike Wreblewski (men’s basketball), Attila Zsiovczky (track and field) and Marty, John and Mary Vanier (contributors).
“This year’s group of 11 individuals is a star-studded class, and we are excited to welcome them into the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame,” said Kenny Lannou, Executive Associate Athletics Director for Communications and K-State Athletics Hall of Fame Chairperson. “Each of these inductees has made a lasting impact on K-State Athletics and Kansas State University, and we look forward to welcoming them back to Manhattan this fall for a special induction weekend.”
The class is the 13th in the history of the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame, including the charter class of 1990, and will be honored during the weekend of September 5. Official induction ceremonies will take place on Friday, September 4, before the inductees are recognized at halftime of the football game against Buffalo the following day.
More ceremony details will be announced later this summer.
K-State Athletics Hall of Fame – Class of 2020 Biographies
David Allen starred for K-State football from 1997 through 2000 as a running back and return specialist. Despite an injury-shortened senior season, Allen left K-State as the all-time leader in career punt return average, yards, attempts, and touchdowns, with his seven career punt return touchdowns tying a NCAA record. A three-time All-Big 12 honoree, Allen burst into the national spotlight as a sophomore in 1998, becoming the first and only player to return a punt for a touchdown in three consecutive weeks while setting an NCAA record with four punt returns for touchdowns in a season, earning Consensus First Team All-American honors. In 1999 as a junior, Allen earned First team All-American honors again and was named one of five finalists for the Mosi Tatupu National Special Teams Player of the Year Award. Allen earned the starting running back spot as a senior in 2000, but an injury in the first game of the season ended his career at K-State. Allen went on to play six years of professional football, including five years in the NFL. In 2008, Allen was placed in the Ring of Honor at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and in 2018 was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Laurie Koehn was one of the greatest sharpshooters in women’s NCAA history while at K-State from 2002-05. She is the all-time leader in 3-point field goals made in Big 12 history with 392 (also a NCAA record until 2020) and in attempts at 942 while also holding the Big 12 record for career free-throw percentage at 87.7. Named the ESPN.com Rookie of the Year as a freshman, Koehn helped the Wildcats explode onto the national spotlight with a 26-8 season and a Sweet 16 appearance in 2002. The Cats followed up that season with a school-record 29-5 campaign in 2003 before claiming the program’s first-ever Big 12 Championship in 2004. Koehn was named All-Big 12 three times during her career and was a two-time Academic All-American. Koehn ranks fifth in school history in career points with 1,733 and remains littered in the record book for 3-pointers. Koehn signed a free agent contract with the Washington Mystics for the 2005 season and went on to enjoy an eight-year professional basketball career both in the WNBA and overseas. Among Koehn’s career international playing highlights was a gold medal as a member of Team USA’s U18 team in July of 2000 at the FIBA Americas Championship and a silver medal as a member of Team USA again in 2003 at the Pan American Games. Koehn was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
A.J. Morris led the Wildcats as a junior to their first-ever NCAA Regional appearance. Morris ended the season with a school-record 14 wins a 2.09 ERA, earning Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, First Team All-Midwest Region honors, District Player of the Year, and NCAA Houston All-Regional team honors. Morris was a finalist for two national awards, the College Baseball Foundation Pitcher of the Year Award, and the Golden Spikes Award, given to college baseball’s annual top player. He also became the second Wildcat and first pitcher to ever be named Consensus First Team All-American. Morris set four single-season records including wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts, and saved his best games for the best opponents, going 7-0 with a 1.93 ERA against ranked teams. Morris was a fourth round draft choice by the Washington Nationals in 2009 and played seven seasons in professional baseball, making his MLB debut in 2016 with the Cincinnati Reds and playing with Team Italy at the World Baseball Classic in 2017.
A walk-on safety from Riley, Kansas as a freshman in 2003, Jordy Nelson eventually switched to wide receiver and blossomed into one of the greatest at that position in program history. As a senior in 2007, Nelson totaled 122 catches for 1,606 yards, both school records that stand today. Named as one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s top college wide receiver, Nelson also was named All-Big 12 as a receiver and as a returner, and became the 10th Wildcat to ever be named a Consensus First Team All-American. His 206 career receptions and 2,822 career yards receiving still rank third all-time, while he also finished his career with six punt returns for touchdowns. A second round draft choice by the Green Bay Packers in 2008, Nelson reached stardom with the Packers and in the NFL, winning Super Bowl XLV in 2011, setting the Packers’ single season receiving record in 2014 and earning his first Pro Bowl selection. Nelson also earned the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award in 2016 after missing the 2015 season with an injury and leading the NFL in receiving touchdowns. Nelson retired from the NFL in 2019 after 11 seasons with over 600 receptions, nearly 8,600 yards, and eight Green Bay franchise records. Nelson was placed into K-State football’s Ring of Honor in 2015 and is set to be inducted into Wisconsin’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2020.
Arguably the greatest running back ever to play at K-State, Sproles became a three-time All-American while with the Wildcats. In 2003, Sproles was tabbed First Team All-American, finished fifth in the Heisman voting, and third in the voting for Associated Press Player of the Year, all while helping the Wildcats upset No. 1 Oklahoma en route to their first Big 12 title. Sproles still holds numerous school records, including rushing yardage in a single season with 1,986 yards and in a career with 4,979 yards. A gifted returner, Sproles also still holds all-purpose yardage school records for a single season and in a career. A fourth round pick by San Diego in 2005, Sproles became an instant fan favorite, eventually setting the Chargers franchise record for career kickoff return yards. A few years later in 2011 with the Saints, Sproles set the franchise and NFL single season record for all-purpose yardage at 2,696 yards. Sproles earned his first Pro Bowl selection in 2015 after leading the NFL in yards per punt return while with the Eagles and went on to earn three Pro Bowl selections and All-Pro honors in his 15-year NFL career. Sproles retired in 2019 ranking fifth on the NFL’s career all-purpose yardage list with 19,696 yards. A Super Bowl winner with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017 and a member of the San Diego Chargers 50thAnniversary Team, Sproles was also named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 2010 era and placed in K-State football’s Ring of Honor in 2015.
Marty, John, and Mary Vanier
The children of K-State legacy family Jack and Donna Vanier, Marty, John, and Mary Vanier have continued the tradition of tremendous support of Kansas State University and K-State Athletics. In addition to their many University, civic, and local honors, awards, and gifts, Marty, John and Mary Vanier have contributed or been part of many critical K-State Athletics projects benefiting Wildcat student-athletes and fans from multiple sports, including but not limited to the K-State Golf Course Foundation at Colbert Hills, the Baseball-Soccer Campaign, the Ice Family Basketball Center, the Football Stadium Capital Improvements for the West Stadium Center, the Vanier Family Football Complex, and the current South End Zone/Building Champions Capital Initiative. Notably, all three were part of the 2005 Vanier family gift to K-State Athletics, then in 2014, the Vanier family gave a transformational gift of $60 million to Kansas State University benefiting many areas across campus, with a portion earmarked for K-State Athletics and specifically the Vanier Family Football Complex. Heavily involved in the support of multiple organizations across K-State’s main and satellite campuses, Marty, John, and Mary Vanier will join their parents, Jack and Donna Vanier, who were inducted in 1995 into the K-State Athletic Hall of Fame.
The first two-time All-American in K-State volleyball history, Liz Wegner-Busch helped the Wildcats to one of their most success four year stretches in school history from 1998-2001. Winning 80 matches over four years and making four NCAA Tournaments, Wegner also set the school record for career kills with 1,907, kills per set at 4.48, 20-kill matches with 27, total attacks at nearly 4,900, and total points at 2,161, over 280 more than the next student athlete. She is one of only three Wildcats to post 30 or more kills two or more times in match, including her career high of 35 against Baylor in 1999, which ranks third in school history. Wegner was also the first K-State attacker to post back-to-back seasons of 500 kills or more in school history. Not just an offensive force, Wegner posted over 1,000 digs in her career to be one of only five players ever with over 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs. Her 44 career double-doubles rank fifth all-time, including three matches of over 20 kills and 20 digs, fourth most in K-State history. A three-time All-Big 12 selection, Wegner became the first Wildcat in school history to be named to an NCAA All-Tournament team when she earned the distinction in 2000 for the Mideast Region. Wegner was also a two-time Academic All-Big 12 selection and earned Second Team Academic All-District honors as a senior.
A First Team All-American and school record holder, Mike Wroblewski played for Tex Winter and K-State men’s basketball from 1959-1962. As a senior in 1962, Wroblewski led the Wildcats averaging 19 points and 8.5 rebounds per game for a team that went 22-3 and finished No. 6 in the Associated Press Top 25. His 46 points against rival KU on February 7, 1962 still ranks as the most points in a conference game for K-State, as does his field goals made and attempted from that game. For his efforts, Wroblewski was named a Second Team All-American and First Team All-Big 8 performer. Over his last three years, Wroblewski helped the Wildcats to a 60-18 record, won two Big 8 championships, and appeared in the 1961 Midwest Regional Final (Elite Eight). In 1962, Wroblewski was selected in the fifth round by the Cincinnati Royals in the NBA Draft and was also taken by the Kansas City Bulls in the ABA draft.
A native of Hungary, Attila (uh-TILL-uh) Zsiovczky (zhih-VOSS-key) was a star multi-event track and field student-athlete at K-State from 1997 through 1999. While at K-State, Zsiovczky set a then-indoor school record in the heptathlon with 5,786 points in 1998, a mark that still ranks third all-time and still holds the outdoor school record in the decathlon at 8,379 points, a mark set when he won the European U-23 meet in Sweden in 1999. A two-time Big 12 Indoor Champion in the heptathlon, Zsiovczky also twice placed second at US Outdoor National Championship in the decathlon in 1998 and 1999, to twice earn All-American honors. In addition to his athletic achievements, Zsiovczky was a three-time First Team Academic All-Big 12 selection. Internationally, Zsiovczky competed from 1994 to 2014 in 24 events across the world, placing in the top 10 on 20 occasions and in the top five 15 times. Along with his win at the European U-23 Championships in 1999, Zsiovczky won a World Junior Championship in the decathlon in 1996 in Australia and finished third in the decathlon at the 2005 World Championships in Finland. Zsiovczky also represented his home country of Hungary in the decathlon at three Summer Olympic games – 2000 in Sydney, finishing eighth, 2004 in Athens, finishing sixth, and 2008 in Beijing.