Baker football to continue tradition
Baker's success on the football field began more than a century ago when the Wildcats defeated the University of Kansas 22-9 in the state's first intercollegiate football game in 1890. But never in its long history has Baker been more successful than in the past two decades.
Since 1980, Baker is 165-55-2 and in 13 of those seasons the Wildcats competed in the NAIA playoff games or postseason bowl games. In his five years as head coach, John Frangoulis is 33-19 and the Wildcats have played in two bowl games. Last season, Baker finished 9-2, third in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, and beat Campbellsville (Ky.) 27-23 in the KWTO Bowl in December Bolivar, Mo.
Despite the graduation of two-time All-America selections Carlos Grace and Mark Emry on defense, Frangoulis believes the Wildcat defense will continue strong in 2001, especially at the linebacker position.
Returning are all-conference linebackers Mickey Ramsey, who established new Wildcat records last year for tackles in a season with 132 and tackles in a game with a 24; Brock Bult, a three-year starter who had 86 tackles last year; and Eric Moore, who had 110 tackles, including 23 where opponents lost yardage.
On offense, Baker has two proven tailbacks returning Terence Spencer and Howard Verdell. Both rushed for more than 100 yards in games last year. Last year's starting fullback Scott Lane also returns, as do offensive lineman Aaron Anderson, Joey Panietz, and Kyle Ellifritt. All-conference selection Todd Hitchcock returns at wide receiver.
Baker's 2001 season begins where its 2000 ended with a bowl game appearance. The Wildcats open the season in the Wheat Bowl Aug. 25 against Peru State (Neb.).
Baker finished the 2000 season ranked 18th in the nation.
Wildcat teams have played in four national semifinal games and a
national championship game
Baker has won 478 games, third among all NAIA schools.
Baker has finished third or better in the Heart of America Athletic
Conference in 18 of the past 21 years.
The Wildcats have 10 NAIA playoff appearances.
Baker has had an All-America selection every year since 1977,
including 22 on the first team. In 2000, Carlos Grace was selected to the first team and Mark Emry was a second-team selection.
Thirty-seven Wildcats have been selected to Academic All-America team since 1983, including two last season linebacker Jason Montgomery and quarterback David Ewers.
Emil S. Liston, a longtime Baker coach and athletic director, began
the first national basketball tournament in 1937. The tournament
eventually led to the formation of the NAIA, of which Liston was the
first executive director. Baker's stadium is named in his honor.
Wildcats on radio
Veteran sportscaster and author Tom Hedrick will broadcast Baker football on the Wildcat Radio Network again this year. The network includes KOFO 1220 AM in Ottawa, KCWJ 1030 AM in Kansas City, and Baker radio station KNBU 89.7 FM in Baldwin City. Hedrick's new book, The Art of Sportscasting, (Diamond Communications, 2000) includes Hedrick's interviews with more than 90 of sports best broadcasters.
Baker will wear orange helmets with orange pants and navy jerseys at home. On the road, Baker will compete in orange helmets, white jerseys and orange pants.
Wildcat 2000 All-Conference Selections
Defensive Player of the Year: Mark Emry, defensive back, Peculiar, Mo.
First team: Mackie Valentin, wide receiver, Overland Park; Seth
Langford, offensive line, Gilmer, Texas; Mark Emry, defensive back,
Peculiar, Mo.; Carlos Grace, defensive line, Houston, Texas; Mickey
Ramsey, linebacker, Garden City
Second team: Terence Spencer, running back, La Puente, Calif.; Eric Moore, linebacker, Independence, Mo; Dax Barker, defensive back, Blue Springs, Mo.
Third team: Levi Schuck, quarterback, Huntington Beach, Calif.; John Langford, offensive line, Gilmer, Texas; William Harris, defensive line, Kansas City, Mo.; Joe Zubeck, defensive line, Leawood; Brock Bult, linebacker, Grain Valley, Mo.; Marcel Matthews, punter, Fresno, Calif.
Academic: Aaron Anderson, offensive line, Baldwin City; Brock Bult, linebacker, Grain Valley, Mo.; Jason Montgomery, linebacker, Topeka; Dax Barker, defensive back, Blue Springs, Mo.
Wildcat 2000 All-America selections
First Team: Carlos Grace, defensive line, Houston, Texas
Second Team: Mark Emry, defensive back, Peculiar, Mo.
Honorable Mention: Mackie Valentin, wide receiver, Overland Park; Seth Langford, offensive line, Gilmer, Texas
Academic: Jason Montgomery, linebacker, Topeka, David Ewers,
quarterback, Kemp, Texas.
"Our first objective is always to run the football. I want to see early on what our running game can do. We have two tailbacks Terence Spencer and Howard Verdell who have proven they can run the football, and an experienced offensive line. We were second in the conference in scoring last year (25 ppg) and I'm confident we can put up some points again this season," said Frangoulis.
Martin Updike, Soph., 6-1, 188, Muskogee, Okla. Was a backup in 2000.
David Wolf, Soph, 6-1, 182, Chillicothe, Mo. Was a backup in 2000.
Terence Spencer, Sr., 6-0, 175, La Puente, Calif., Spencer led all Wildcat runners in 2000 with 757 yards, despite missing part of the season. He had four 100-plus yard games.
Howard Verdell, Sr., 5-9, 190, Dallas, Texas. Verdell missed much of the season, but gained 105 yards against Lindenwood in the second game of the year.
Scott Lane, Jr., 5-11, 217, Palestine, Texas. Started at fullback in 2000.
Todd Hitchcock, Sr., 6-0, 170, Larned. Hitchcock caught 11 passes last year and gained 342 yards for a 31 yard per catch average.
Ryan Costello, Sr., 6-4, 190, Olathe. Costello caught 13 passes last year, including a 51-yard touchdown in the KWTO Bowl.
Aaron Anderson, Jr., 6-1, 265, Baldwin City. Anderson has started for two years.
Joey Panietz, Sr., 6-4, 340, Lufkin, Texas. Paneitz has started games in each of the past three seasons.
Kyle Ellifritt, Jr., 6-5, 300, Covina, Calif. Started in 2000 for the
Scott Rieger, Sr., 6-5, 205, Arnold, Mo. Rieger caught 11 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown in 2000.
Chad Greve, Sr., 6-3, 234, Springfield, Mo. Greve caught five passes for 71 yards last season.
"I look for a great year from our defense, despite the fact that two All-America selections have graduated. Our strength is at linebacker, where we have three returning starters who earned all-conference honors, but we have experience in the backfield and up front," said Frangoulis
William Harris, Sr., 6-0, 195, Kansas City, Mo. Harris is a three year starter who had 61 tackles last year, including three sacks
Mark Miller, Jr. 6-1, 265, Hannibal, Mo. Miller had 30 tackles as a
sophomore, including three sacks.
Mickey Ramsey, Sr., 5-11, 215, Garden City. Ramsey led the team in tackles last year with 132 and established a single-season school record.
Brock Bult, Sr., 5-11, 236, Grain Valley, Mo. A three-year starter for the Wildcats, Bult was third on the team in tackles last year with 86.
Eric Moore, Jr., Independence, Mo. A starter since his freshman year, Moore was second on the team with 110 tackles in 2000. Twenty-three of those tackles were for losses, establishing a new school record.
Matt Tripplett, Jr. 5-11, 162, St. Louis, Mo. Tripplett intercepted four passes from his cornerback position in 2000.
Darrell Jones, Sr., 6-2, 180, Atchison. Jones had 22 tackles and two interceptions last year.
Marcel Matthews, Sr., 6-0, 222, Fresno, Calif. Matthews averaged 38.4 yards per punt last year.
Bryan Williams, Jr., 6-2, 176, Baldwin City. Williams punts and
placekicks for the Wildcats. He averaged 34.4 yards per punt in 2000.
Mike Brennan, Soph., 5-11, 176, Topeka. Placekicker.