The Kansas Sports Hall of Fame announced 13 inductees to its 2018 class on Wednesday, two of which are former St. Mary’s Colgan football coach Chuck Smith and 12-year MLB professional Adam LaRoche.
Smith, a native of Atchison, Kansas, spent all but one of his 38 years of coaching at Colgan before retiring in December 2016. While at the helm of the Panthers’ football program, he compiled a 343-75 record and led them to five state titles and six runner-up finishes. From 2000 to 2004, Colgan went on a 66-game win streak that still marks as the program’s all-time best.
At Atchison High School, Smith was a multi-sport athlete and went on to play baseball and football at Pittsburg State University. After his playing days, he coached football at Topeka Hayden in 1979 and then transitioned to Colgan the following year.
LaRoche, who spent MLB stints with the the Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Washington Nationals and Chicago White Sox, capped his prep career at Fort Scott High School with a state runner-up finish in 1998. He went on to play college ball at Fort Scott Community College and then Seminole State in Oklahoma, where he helped the team claim an NJCAA World Series title and was named the series MVP.
In 2000, LaRoche signed with the Braves as a first baseman to begin his MLB career. He finished his pro career with a .260 batting average, tallying 1,452 hits, 882 RBI and 255 home runs.
The hall of fame’s 2018 class also features former University of Kansas basketball player and NBA champion Paul Pierce (Inglewood, Calif.) as well as the late Ewing Kauffman (Kansas City, Mo.), the founder of the Kansas City Royals.
The remaining inductees: Kansas State football return man David Allen (Liberty, Mo.), Wichita State basketball player Angela Buckner (Wichita, Kan.), University of Missouri basketball player Larry Drew (Kansas City, Kansas, Wyandotte HS), UCLA tennis player Buff Farrow (Wichita), Southwestern College cross country coach Jim Helmer (Lyons, Kansas), St. Benedict’s College basketball player Darryl Jones (St. Louis, Mo.), Kansas State basketball player Laurie Koehn (Moundridge, Kansas), Kansas State football player Clarence Scott (Trinity, Ga.) and Larned High School baseball player Mitch Webster (Larned, Kansas).