‘Tex Winter Drive’ unveiled Saturday

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In a ceremony before the basketball game against Oklahoma State on Jan. 24, 2015, K-State Athletics unveiled a limestone marker dedicating the drive immediately in front of the east side of Bill Snyder Family Stadium and Bramlage Coliseum to Tex Winter, K-State head basketball coach from 1953-68. Winter, an innovator of the "triangle offense," led the Wildcats to eight Big 7/8 titles, six NCAA Tournament bids, including trips to the Final Four in 1959 and 1964, and four top-20 finishes. Winter is also a member of the Naismith Basketball and the National Collegiate Basketball Halls of Fame. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

The man who helped guide K-State to four Final Four appearances now has his legacy permanently displayed near the current home of K-State men’s hoops.

Prior to Saturday’s Big 12 clash between K-State and Oklahoma State, Athletics Director John Currie, joined by All-American Ernie Barrett and the public, dedicated the stretch of pavement leading up to the east side of the K-State Basketball Training Facility and Bramlage Coliseum in Fred “Tex” Winter’s honor.

Winter joins another legend in Jack Hartman as former K-State head coaches to have a drive dedicated in their honor. “Jack Hartman Drive” is located on the west side of Bramlage Coliseum off of College Avenue.

“Coach Winter and his players and his program set the stage for all K-Staters to truly believe in no self limitation, to truly believe we could be America’s model intercollegiate athletics program.” – John Currie

The dedication came to fruition this fall when current K-State head coach Bruce Weber approached Currie with a request to honor Winter, who is second all-time in K-State history with 261 wins (261-118).

“I said, ‘Coach Winter is still here, we need to honor him,'” Weber said Saturday after the game. “With the practice facility, I thought it was a natural thing. I’m really happy they decided to do that, it’s well deserved … (he’s) special to the world of basketball. It’s a good thing for K-State basketball.”

Winter, 92, is the only person affiliated with all four K-State Final Four teams (1948, 1951, 1959 and 1964). The latter two trips came during his 15-year tenure as the head coach (1954-68). Prior to taking the lead job, Winter spent four seasons in Manhattan as an assistant head coach to Jack Gardner, who Weber also said he believes should be honored in similar fashion.

“Back a long, long time ago when this was just a bunch of fields, before K-State was known for Big 12 championships or K-State 2025, there was a basketball program that achieved heights that had never been achieved for K-State.” – John Currie

Along with the Final Four appearences, Winter led K-State men’s basketball to eight Big Seven/Eight Conference titles, five Big Seven/Eight Holiday Tournament crowns and six NCAA Tournament appearances.

The latest honor is another to add to Winter’s lengthy list of accolades and accomplishments. In 2010, Winter was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Missouri. A year later, he was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Locally, Winter is a member of the State of Kansas and Kansas State University Sports Halls of Fame. He is also lauded as the inventor of the triangle offense, which is still used in today’s game at all levels.

“Back a long, long time ago when this was just a bunch of fields, before K-State was known for Big 12 championships or K-State 2025, there was a basketball program that achieved heights that had never been achieved for K-State,” Currie said at the dedication. “Coach Winter and his players and his program set the stage for all K-Staters to truly believe in no self limitation, to truly believe we could be America’s model intercollegiate athletics program.”

Currie and Barrett presented the limestone dedication with Winter standing a few feet away. Winter traced his fingers around the lettering of his name, looked up and smiled.

The man who helped put K-State men’s basketball on the map now, and forever, has a piece of history on the map for all to see.

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