Lafayette Norwood in Kansas Sports Hall of Fame

June 10, 2016

Lafayette Norwood with Kansas Sports Hall of Fame logo

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Former Johnson County men’s basketball and golf coach Lafayette Norwood is among 12 inductees for the 2016 class of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, which was announced Wednesday. The induction ceremony for the 2016 class is scheduled Oct. 2 in Wichita, Kan.

The other 11 class members are: Steve Anson (Kansas State and Washburn baseball), Bill Bridges (Kansas men’s basketball), Bob Davis (longtime broadcaster), Tamecka Dixon (Kansas women’s basketball), Bill Dotson (Kansas track and field), Scott Huffman (Kansas  track and field), Jerry Kill (national football coach of the year from Cheney), Deandra Doubrava-McBride (Emporia State track and field), Jamie Mendez III (Kansas State football), Austra Skujyte (Kansas State track and field), and George Sweatt (Pittsburg State and Negro League World Series Champion).

Norwood served 32 years at JCCC, nine as men’s basketball coach and 23 as the golf coach.  During his time with the basketball program, Norwood compiled a 146-136 record, which made him the winningest coach at the time. He coached one All-American, four all-region and 18 all-conference performers. He also had one player, Tony Harris, play in the NBA.

In 23 years with the golf program, Norwood led the Cavaliers to 18 berths in the NJCAA Tournament, and his teams recorded nine top-15 and three top-10 finishes. Norwood also captured three Jayhawk Conference titles and won 42 tournaments. He also coached three All-Americans, 72 all-conference players and three individual conference champions.

However, Norwood’s ticket to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame began in 1969, when he made history after being named head basketball coach at Wichita Heights High School to become the first African-American coach in the Wichita school district. Norwood led the Falcons to a 109-56 record and three city championships.

His 1975-76 squad finished runner-up in the state tournament, and the 1976-77 team was undefeated and won the 6A state tile. That title enabled Norwood to share with coaching legend Ralph Miller the distinction of being the only two people in Kansas history to have played and coached a men’s basketball state championship team.

Following that memorable season, Norwood jumped to the collegiate ranks, serving as an assistant basketball coach to Ted Owens at the University of Kansas. Norwood first built his reputation as a top recruiter when he assembled teams that helped the Jayhawks compile an 81-38 record in his four seasons (1977-81) and win two Big Eight championships.

A 1952 graduate of Wichita East High School, Norwood spent two years at Arkansas City (Kan.) Junior College (now Cowley College) before completing his degree at Southwestern College in 1956. At Cowley, Norwood competed in both basketball and football. He amassed 876 points and earned first-team NJCAA All-American in 1953 after leading the Tigers to a runner-up finish in the national tournament.  The following year he led Cowley to a seventh place national finish, and again earned All-America honors, becoming the first two-time All-American in any sport in school history.  Playing tailback for the Tigers football team, Norwood earned all-conference accolades as well. He was inducted into the Cowley Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994.

At Southwestern, Norwood earned all-conference in basketball and led the Builders to a NAIA National Tournament berth. In 1993, Southwestern College inducted him into their Hall of Fame.