On October 2, 1970, the first, or “gold” plane (the twin plane to the second, or black, plane) carrying players and staff of the WSU football team took off from a Colorado airport after refueling, bound for Logan, Utah for a game against Utah State University. It flew into a mountain valley too narrow to enable it to turn back and smashed into a mountainside, killing 31 of the 40 players, administrators, and fans near a ski resort 40 miles (64 km) away from Denver. President Richard Nixon sent the president of the university a note which read, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to you in this time of sorrow.”
While at Wichita State, McDaniel was the first person to lead the nation in both rebounding and scoring in the same season. In college, McDaniel began to shave both his head and his eyebrows to look more intimidating. He continued this all throughout his pro career.
For his first two seasons at Wichita State, the Shockers were on NCAA probation. He was a teammate in his freshman year of future NBA players Antoine Carr and Cliff Levingston. When Levingston left for the NBA, McDaniel became a starter and averaged 18.8 points and 14.4 rebounds as power forward opposite Carr. The following season, Carr left, and McDaniel raised his scoring average to 20.6 points per game and was the Missouri Valley Conference MVP. He then led the nation in scoring (27.4) and rebounding (15.0) his senior season becoming the first player to do so.
In 1998, WuShock, also referred to as “Wu”, marked his 50th birthday by undergoing a redesign and getting a pumped-up physique and revved-up attitude. The mascot’s costume has changed over the years, as well. With the redesign, a new costume was introduced in fall 1998. In fall 1999, the head of the new costume underwent another redesign after a number of supporters suggested the mascot needed a more intimidating look. In 2006 it was decided to once again update the Wu costume. The general consensus was that many wanted the costume to more accurately reflect the depiction of WU in the school’s logo. Many officials feel that a more professional and intimidating mascot on the field will certainly bolster WSU’s image.
College Sports Established
Wichita State University
1973 – Present / NCAA Division 1
1921 – 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
1907 – 1921 / Athletic Association of the United States
2017 – Present / American Athletic Conference
1945 – 2017 / Missouri Valley Conference
1923 – 1945 / Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association
1902 – 1923 / Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference
Shockers – Wichita State, according to the school’s athletic website, is named the Shockers because of the practice of “shocking” (harvesting) wheat in Kansas.
In the school’s early days, most student athletes earned college money working all Summer in the fields harvesting and threshing wheat. In 1904, the nickname “Wheat Shockers” was used for the first time for the basketball team.
Kansas is still considered the “wheat state” and Sedgewick County, where Wichita is located, is the largest wheat producing county in the state.
Eventually, the name was shortened simply to the Shockers.
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