Editor’s Note: The profile below continues a series on 2022 inductees to the Kansas Wesleyan University Athletic Hall of Fame. Profiles are currently scheduled to run each Wednesday through August 24. The ceremony is set for the Saturday of Homecoming and Family Weekend 2022, Oct. 22 at 8:30 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at https://kwu.vbotickets.com/eventdate/KWU_Hall_of_Fame_Induction_Ceremony/295132.
August 10: Gordon Reimer
August 3: 2008-09 Women’s Basketball Team
July 27: 2006-07 Men’s Basketball Team
It was a day no Kansas Wesleyan University running back had previously enjoyed.
Ron West got the ball early and often, gaining big chunks of yardage each time his number was called in the Coyotes’ non-conference game against Colorado College on Nov. 6, 1976, at Glenn Martin Stadium.
By game’s end he had gained 314 yards, a single-game school record that stood for nearly 36 years, until Brett Giesen went for 317 yards against Southwestern on Oct. 27, 2012. Demarco Prewitt tied West’s record with 314 yards against Bethel on Oct. 27, 2018.
They are the only three KWU backs to surpass 300 yards in a game.
“Wow, I guess it was my day,” West said. “The blocking was exceptional and I just couldn’t be stopped that day. It was really a blessing. It was really a blessing that I had the super energy going.”
West finished the 1976 season with 1,362 yards rushing on 208 carries, an average of 136.2 yards per game and 6.7 per carry. He surpassed the 100-yard plateau seven times during the season and led the Kansas Conference in rushing and scoring, his efforts earning him Second Team NAIA All-America honors in addition to First Team All-KCAC and NAIA District 10 recognition.
West enjoyed an ultra-productive senior season, as well, as he gained 1,106 yards on 184 carries with nine touchdowns, averaging six yards per carry. He was chosen Honorable Mention NAIA All-American along with First-Team All-KCAC and All-District 10.
West finished his career with 2,739 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns.
His career and accomplishments will be celebrated when he’s inducted into the Coyote Athletic Hall of Fame at 8 a.m. Oct. 22 inside Muir Gymnasium as part of Homecoming 2022.
West, who hails from Jamaica, N.Y., was a member of the football team for three seasons (1974-76) and played for Hall of Fame coach Gene Bissell. Bissell led the Coyotes for 26 seasons and also served as athletics director.
“He was legendary,” West said. “He was a good teacher and he cared about you, more than just football. That’s what I liked about him. He was always talking about life as he was coaching strategies to win the game. We didn’t win a ton of games but we still got fulfillment out of the games we did win.”
West earned tryouts from three National Football League teams, one of them the Kansas City Chiefs.
In addition to football, West was a standout track athlete for three seasons (1975-77). His leap of 23 feet 1½ inches in the long jump in 1976 was a school record at the time, and he was a member of the 1976 440-yard relay team that tied the then-school record.
Story by Bob Davidson