FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HCC Sports Information
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Esau, Latimore Enshrined Into Hall Of Fame
The HCC Quarterback Club Hall
of Fame welcomed four new members on Saturday night
between games of the Blue Dragon women’s and men’s
doubleheader with Cloud County at the Sports Arena.
Blue Dragon basketball greats Roy
“Pooh” Hairston and Leroy Esau, men’s basketball coach
Steve McClain and football great Mo Latimore were
inducted as the Hall’s 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th
members. Only McClain wasn’t able to accept in person.
LEROY ESAU - Tourney Tradition
Begins With Esau, 1949 Blue Dragons
“Great moments come from great
That was a line that the late
Herb Brooks used during his pregame talk before the 1980
U.S. Olympic hockey team’s Miracle On Ice game with the
Soviet Union in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Some 31 years before Brooks said that to his team, the
1949 Hutchinson Junior College men’s basketball team had
a great opportunity presented to it.
Freshman Leroy Esau and the Blue Dragons seized the
moment. And thus began a tradition like none other in
junior college basketball.
The NJCAA’s second men’s national basket ball tournament
came to Hutchinson’s Convention Hall in 1949 after a
less-than-stellar inaugural run in Springfield, Mo. in
The Blue Dragons didn’t qualify for the tournament, but
received a special invitation to participate. Led by
Esau, the 1949 Blue Dragons went all the way to the
national championship game.
“We didn’t have a great team,” Esau told The Hutchinson
News about the 1949 Blue Dragons, who finished with a
13-9 overall record.
HJC opened the tournament with a 68-50 victory over
Sayer, Okla. The Blue Dragons meet Jayhawk Conference
champion Dodge City, a team HJC lost to twice in the
regular season, in the quarterfinals. Esau scored 12
points, hitting several clutch free throws late for a
55-48 upset victory.
Esau was clutch again in the semifinals at the
free-throw line when his two free throws tied the game
after Hutch trailed Grant Tech by eight points with five
minutes to play. Esau finished with 14 points and the
Blue Dragons advanced to the finals with a 55-53
Esau had 16 points against Tyler Junior College in title
game, but another upset bid fell two points short as
Tyler won the national title, 66-64.
Esau scored 47 points in the tournament and set a
tournament record that lasted for four years with eight
free throws in the Tyler game. Esau was the only Blue
Dragon and the only freshman on the 1949 All-Tournament
In 2006, Esau was voted to the
Blue Dragons’ 75th Anniversary team.
Esau’s sophomore team at HJC finished 14-6 and second in
the Jayhawk Conference. Esau then went on to the
University of Wyoming where he was part of the Cowboys’
1952 team that went to the “Sweet 16” of the NCAA
So what impact did Esau’s 1949 Blue Dragons have in
The NJCAA Tournament has been in
Hutchinson ever since. The Tournament moved to the
Sports Arena in 1952. The Blue Dragons have competed in
16 national tournaments, winning the 1988 and 1994
national championships. That’s tradition.
MO LATIMORE - Latimore set gold
standard for Blue Dragon O-Linemen
Before 1969, the Hutchinson Blue
Dragon football program had seasons of success, but
only one Jayhawk Conference championship was earned over
a 20-year period.
Hall of Fame coach John Matous brought in some of the
most explosive talent HCC had seen in several years in
1968 and 1969.
A key piece of that tremendous recruiting class was an
offensive lineman from Byron, Ga., named Marion “Mo”
Latimore was a two-year starter
for the Blue Dragons and helped pave the way for
Hutchinson’s first Jayhawk Conference championship since
1963. The Blue Dragons went 10-0, their first undefeated
season since 1947.
Latimore was the leader of one of the Blue Dragons’ best
offensive lines in team history. He paved the way for
1,000-yard back Dave Wassenberg, quarterback Donnie
Wilcox and All-American receivers Jack Morris and Lonnie
Led by Latimore, the 1969 Blue
Dragons scored the fourth-most points to that point in
team history (300 points), ran the table in the Jayhawk
Conference - winning seven league games by an average of
27 points per game - and qualified for the program’s
first bowl game in 20 years.
The Blue Dragons rolled past Nassau, N.Y. 32-7 in the
1969 Sterling Silver Bowl.
Latimore was named a 1969 first-team NJCAA-American.
After Hutchinson, Latimore
transferred to Kansas State University where he became
one of the top linemen in Wildcat history. Latimore
earned third-team All-America honors and first team
All-Big Eight accolades while also serving as team
captain in 1971. He played in the 1971 Senior Bowl and
From Kansas State, he was drafted in the seventh round
by the New York Jets and wound up playing four seasons
in the CFL with Calgary, Saskatchewan and Hamilton.
Latimore began his coaching career at K-State in 1976 as
a graduate assistant. After 10 years in various roles
on the Kansas State staff, Latimore moved to Texas-El
Paso in 1986, where he coached the defensive line for
three seasons. He helped the Miners to the school’s
first 10-win season in 1988, which cumulated in the
school’s first bowl game in 21 years - the 1988
Independence Bowl. In 1989, Latimore moved to Missouri,
where he coached until 1993. He has been on the Kansas
State staff since then.
STEVE MCCLAIN - McClain brings championship touch to HCC
Some coaches are strapped with
the reputation that they can’t win The Big One.
Not Steve McClain.
Not only did he win a national championship as an
assistant coach with the Hutchinson Blue Dragons in
1988, he went one better six years later by winning the
1994 championship as HCC’s head coach.
McClain served under Quarterback Club Hall of Fame
member Dave Farrar as an assistant from 1986-92. He was
promoted to head coach before the 1991-92 season.
McClain put together a dazzling record of 91-16 in three
seasons as the top Dragon.
McClain’s .857 winning percentage is still No. 1 on the
HCC coaching charts. His 91 victories were seventh most
in team history when he left to become a Division I
assistant after the 1994 season.
The 1992 and 1993 Blue Dragons both reached the Region
VI title game but fell short. McClain and the Blue
Dragons finally broke through in 1994 with a 73-57
victory in the finals over Butler County.
HCC opened the 1994 NJCAA Tournament with a 99-83
victory over Bossier Parish and then defeated
Chattahoochee Valley 81-67 in the quarterfinals. After
defeating Connors State 80-79 in a thrilling semifinal,
McClain found himself locked up in a championship game
matchup against coaching legend Gene Bess and Three
Rivers Community College.
The Blue Dragons (35-4) defeated
Three Rivers 78-74. Roy “Pooh” Hairston, Ben Davis and
Lucas Wagler were named to the All-Tournament team and
Hairston was a first-team NJCAA All-American.
McClain’s HCC teams were among the highest scoring in
program history. The 1993 Blue Dragons still rank as
the highest-scoring team in HCC history at 93.5 points
per game. The 1994 team scored the most points in team
history (3,506 points). All three of McClain’s Blue
Dragon teams rank in the Top 5 in team history in
scoring average and points scored.
Over McClain’s three years as head coach, 16 players
moved onto Division I programs. Hairston was a two-time
All-American and Davis was a second-team All-American in
McClain left HCC to take an assistant’s job at TCU. From
there, he moved into the head coaching position at
Wyoming, where he coached the Cowboys from 1998-2007.
McClain led the Cowboy program through one of its most
successful periods in school history, posting the fifth
highest winning percentage in school history (57.7
percent) and achieving a 157-115 record, averaging 17
wins per season through his nine years.
After Wyoming, McClain spent three seasons at Colorado
and moved onto the top assistant’s job at Indiana before
the 2010-11 season.
ROY HAIRSTON: Nothing silly about
this ‘Pooh,’ Hairston is Blue Dragon hoops royalty
Mention the name “Pooh” to a Blue
Dragon basketball fan and the name Roy Hairston will
likely come up.
“Pooh” Hairston earned that name recognition during two
spectacular seasons where the Blue Dragons won 64 games
and program popularity was at an all-time high.
Playing from 1992-94, all Hairston did was become HCC
men’s basketball’s only two-time NJCAA All-American,
earn NJCAA Tournament Most Valuable Players honors after
leading the Blue Dragons to the 1994 national
championship and become the program’s all-time leading
Hairston’s career numbers are simply staggering.
He left HCC as the holder of
seven career, three single-season and six freshman
records, not to mention being listed in 36 career,
single-season and freshmen Top 10 lists.
The Indianapolis native is one of only five players in
Blue Dragon history to have at least 1,000 points and
500 rebounds in a career.
Hairston scored 1,687 points, some 226 points more than
the second-place total. He has two of HCC’s five
800-point seasons in team history.
Hairston also holds career records for scoring average
(23.1) and made field goals (634).
During that magical year of 1994,
Hairston scored a single-season record 880 points and
averaged 22.6 points per game while shooting 56 percent
from the field. He was named a first-team All-American -
the program’s third in history - after earning
second-team All-America honors as a freshman.
After graduating from HCC, Hairston went to Purdue
University to play for Blue Dragon coaching great and
Quarterback Club Hall of Fame member Gene Keady, where
he was a third-team All-Big 10 selection.
Hairston went on to have a long
and successful career outside the United States, playing
professionally in Russia, Turkey, Italy, Switzerland,
the Philippines and Venezuela.
In 2006, Hairston was the top vote-getter on
Hutchinson’s all-75th Anniversary team.