Fans rally at kickoff event

Thousands of passionate Jayhawk supporters gathered in Corinth Square in Prairie Village Friday evening for the annual KU Kickoff event.

Kansas Athletics and the KU Alumni Association hosted the event. Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, athletic director Sheahon Zenger, football coach Charlie Weis, women’s basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson and men’s basketball coach Bill Self addressed the crowd.

The three coaches discussed the football program extensively as they praised the job Weis has done so far and the importance of going to Memorial Stadium to support the team.

Bill Self speaks to eager Jayhawks during Saturday’s pep rally in Prairie Village.

Weis was the first coach to address the crowd, and he focused on getting the crowd excited for the beginning of the season.

“We open the season with three home games: September 1, September 8 and September 15,” Weis said. “Let’s see if we can pack this place and start making a home field at Memorial Stadium feel like Allen Fieldhouse for a game.”

Weis ended his address with a light-hearted jab against fans who plan on leaving football games early.

“And if you’re leaving at halftime, you and I are going to get into a fist fight,” Weis said.

Henrickson also reiterated the importance of supporting the football team to the crowd.

“Nothing sets the year off like a great football season and a good crowd,” Henrickson said.

The speakers also mentioned the athletic success for Kansas over the past year, with the men’s basketball team going to the national championship game, the women’s basketball team going to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament and several student-athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Self and Henrickson are also looking forward to basketball season after both teams made deep runs in the NCAA Tournament last season.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s already here,” Henrickson said. “We have been doing a lot of good work this summer. We got some kids healthy and they are excited as I am, which is good for everyone.”

After returning from their European trip where the Jayhawks took on teams from Switzerland and France, Self acknowledged what would be ahead for his squad .

“They are talented, they are fun, they are athletic and I believe that if we stick together and everybody’s on the same page, we are going to shock a lot of people come March.”

— Edited by Andrew Ruszczyk

  • Updated Aug. 20, 2012 at 12:29 am