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Steve BurlesonSteve Burleson (KCKCC photo)
The 1976 Blue Devil baseball team that earned a berth in the NJCAA World Series will be the first team to be inducted into the Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Sports Hall of Fame.
The team will be joined by track Olympian Dinsdale Morgan, basketball All-American Stephanie Brown and long-time baseball coach Steve Burleson in induction ceremonies Saturday, Feb. 23.
Fittingly, the induction ceremonies will come on the same day KCKCC opens its new baseball field with a 1 p.m. doubleheader against Hutchinson. The inductions will be held between games of KCKCC’s basketball doubleheader with Labette which will tip off at 6 p.m.
Under the direction of head coach Dave Klein and assistant Mike Haen, the Blue Devils reached the World Series by winning the Jayhawk East Conference championship and advancing through three straight elimination rounds. After sweeping four straight in the Region VI playoffs, the Blue Devils came from behind to take a two-of-three East-West playoff series from Western Division champion Hutchinson and finally a four-team Central Division championship. Ranked No. 8 nationally entering the World Series, KCKCC fell 4-2 to St. Claire, Mich., in the opening game and then was eliminated by Albermele, N.C. 6-0 and finished the season 44-14.
The World Series lineup included a starting infield of Barry Davies at first, Gregg Creten at second, Jeff Watson at short, Bob Poje at third and Kevin Fouts behind the plate. Steve Rezin, Ken Harvey and Larry Spiess manned the outfield with Mark Harrison, Ed Hernandez, Kevin Mendon and Jeff Watson heading the mound staff. Others on the 21-man roster included pitchers Bob Hagan and Paul Pearce and position players Pat Young, Lynne Sebree, Steve Pennock, Lee Smith, Dave Hoffman, Loren Breedlove and Dave Wolf.
Dinsdale Morgan – One of the world’s premier 400-meter hurdlers in the late 1990s, Morgan was a nine-time All-American and Track Athlete of the Year at both KCKCC and Pittsburg State in his collegiate career. A native of Jamaica, Morgan was selected to the Jamaica Olympic team in 1996 and was a 2000 Olympic semifinalist. Ranked No. 4 in the world in the 400 hurdles in 1998, he set records in the Central American and Caribbean championships in both 1997 and 1998.
The Jamaica Track Athlete of the Year in 1999 and one of Jamaica’s Top 10 male athletes from 1996-2001, Morgan currently coaches track at Blue Valley Southwest where he’s coached 26 athletes to the state meet. In addition, he’s involved in numerous track and field camps, organizations and other avenues in promoting track in the Kansas City metro area.
Stephanie Brown – As a freshman in 2003-04, Brown swept every award – Jayhawk Conference Freshman of the Year, Player of the Year, first team All-Jayhawk East, first team All-Region VI and honorable mention on the NJCAA Division I All-American team. Averaging 22.4 points and 12 rebounds, she led the conference in both categories.
As a sophomore, she repeated as a member of the All-Jayhawk East and All-Region VI first teams and earned Kodak All-American Honorable Mention after averaging 21.2 points and 10.5 rebounds. Second on the all-time KCKCC list in single season and career scoring and rebounding lists, Brown holds the all-time record for field goals in a game (19) and most free throws in a season and career. She continued her playing career at UMKC and currently is a case manager for Ozanan Residential Facilities in the Kansas City area.
Steve Burleson – In his 34th year as head baseball coach at KCKCC, Burleson has been named Jayhawk Coach of the Year six times, won seven Jayhawk East championships, three Region VI titles and become only the second coach in the Jayhawk East to win 1,000 games (March 6, 2012).. Two of his players, David Segui and Kevin Young, had lengthy major league careers, and 88 percent of the players he’s coached earned scholarships to four-year colleges.
His contributions, however, extend far beyond wins and losses. A co-founder of the Jayhawk Baseball Association, Burleson wrote the original constitution, a document that still exists. He’s also served as chairman of three NJCAA committees, held the position of secretary and treasurer and in 1987, was head coach of the North team which won the Gold Medal in the U.S. Olympic Festival. In 1991, he coached an NJCAA All-Star team to fourth place in the Tournament of the Americas played in Havana, Cuba.