Steve Johnson, Larry Schugart and Kurt Budke are on the threshold of entering the Barton Community College Sports Hall of Fame.
The class of 2013 inductees will be recognized and honored on Saturday at a 3 p.m. induction ceremony at Kirkman Activity Center.
The ceremony is free and open to the public. Public attendance also is encouraged in honoring the inductees between the Barton-Seward County women’s and men’s games.
The women’s game is set for 5:30 and the men’s game at around 7:30.
Johnson was a former baseball player for the Cougars, and Schugart is being honored for his contributions to Barton athletics.
Budke, a former Barton basketball standout, will be honored posthumously.
• Kurt Budke
Playing in a Cougars uniform from 1979-81 and garnering all-conference honors his sophomore season, Budke’s legacy surpasses any individual basketball honors he achieved and impacted others beyond the game of basketball.
A Salina native who set school records for scoring and rebounding at Sacred Heart High School, Budke continued his education beyond Barton earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Washburn University in 1984 before adding a Master of Science degree from Wichita State University in 1985.
Remembered as a winning coach and the man with the battle-cry “win the next five minutes,” Budke guided each of his teams to high achievements, earning him the utmost respect and honor by his colleagues within the sports industry.
Budke began his coaching journey in 1984 on the men’s side as a graduate assistant at Washburn University for Bob Chipman before taking a men’s assistant coaching position at Friends University.
Moving to Kansas City to become an assistant men’s coach at Kansas City Community College, Budke quickly moved into head coaching by a twist of fate. Stepping up to fill the head women’s position when vacated prior to the team’s first game, Budke credits his first team of six women at KCKCC in turning his passion towards the women’s game and thus changed the course of Budke’s coaching history.
Moving on to Allen County Community College in 1991, Budke guided the Red Devils for two seasons to a record of 47-15 while taking them to a No. 17 national ranking and earning the Jayhawk East Conference’s coach of the year honor.
In 1993, Budke moved to Trinity Valley Community College where his teams would dominate the Texas East Conference and eventually make NJCAA history. In his seven years at TVCC, the Lady Cardinals were 96-2 in conference play and won seven straight conference titles. Overall the Lady Cardinals were 226-16 and set a NJCAA record reaching the championship game six straight seasons resulting in four NJCAA national championships and two national runner-up finishes.
Budke’s junior-college coaching resulted in an overall record of 273-31 and a NJCAA record winning percentage at .898. Named the NJCAA National Coach of the Year in both 1995 and 1998, Budke was also named the Texas Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1999.
Additionally, Budke is the youngest coach to ever be inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame. He was enshrined at the Salina Bicentennial Center in 2003.
In 2000, Budke made the jump to the NCAA Division-I level spending two seasons as associate head coach at Louisiana Tech University. Taking over the program in 2002, the Lady Techsters compiled an 80-16 record in his three seasons, which included a stretch of 29 straight wins, three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, a No. 6 national ranking, two Western Athletic Conference titles while being named the WAC Coach of the Year.
Leaving Louisiana Tech for Oklahoma State University in 2005, the Cowgirls endured a winless conference season in Budke’s first year. However in one of the nation’s deepest and most talented conferences, Budke transformed the OSU program to contend for the Big 12 conference title and reach the NCAA Sweet 16 in just his third year.
During his six seasons at OSU, the man seen wearing the orange blazer orchestrated one of the most remarkable turnarounds ever witnessed on the college basketball landscape. He not only resurrected the program, he elevated the Cowgirls to the national stage and provided a consistent postseason presence for the first time in more than a decade. With a OSU career record of 112-83, including 1-0 to begin the 2011 season, Budke’s teams made post-season appearances in his last five seasons, including three trips to the NCAA Tournament.
Tragically killed in a plane crash in Perry County, Ark., on Nov. 17, 2011, Budke, along with his assistant, Miranda Serna, and two others, left this earth too soon, but left a lasting legacy honored by many on- and off-the-court.
In addition to scholarships established in his memory at Trinity Valley, the City of Salina named its Bicentennial Center court in honor of the Salina native.
“Kurt Budke Court,” the same court Budke won his national championships while coaching TVCC, was officially dedicated during the 2012 NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship that fittingly saw his former TVCC win the 2012 crown.
Married to the former Shelley Balthazor, Budke is survived by his wife and three children Sara, Alex, and Brett.
• Steve Johnson
Johnson has been successful throughout his playing and coaching career. As a member of the 1988-1990 teams at Barton, Johnson earned both all-conference and All-Region 6 honors.
Moving on to the Division I level after Barton, Johnson played one year at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, where he was named MVP of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in helping UAB make their first NCAA regional appearance in school history. Signing in 1992 with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, Johnson received the Western Baseball League pitcher of the week award twice while playing for the Class A Savannah team.
Johnson reached the Double-A level before leaving the Cardinals organization in 1995. Joining the Tri-City Posse independent league team in 1995, Johnson twice earned the South Atlantic League pitcher of the week award before finishing his playing career in 1996. In his five seasons of professional baseball, Johnson played in 138 games with 69 starts, finishing his career at 35-35 with a 4.04 ERA and a strike-out to walk ratio of 2.48.
Now in his third season as head coach of the Fort Hays State University baseball program, Johnson has established an impressive coaching history. In his first season as the Tigers skipper, Johnson led the Tigers to a fourth-place finish in the MIAA and an appearance at the MIAA Tournament, then followed with reaching the championship game last season.
Spending eight years as an assistant at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, Barton and Fort Hays, Johnson helped his teams to a combined 262-190 record and coached 10 different pitchers who went on to pitch in professional baseball.
Johnson began his head coaching experience at Butler Community College, compiling a 235-155 record in seven seasons including a NJCAA World Series appearance in 2006. Guiding the Grizzlies to three conference co-championships, Johnson was also named the Jayhawk Western Division Coach of the Year twice (2005 and 2007), shared the honor in 2010, and was the 2006 NJCAA Central District and ABCA Regional Coach of the Year.
In addition to his Barton Hall of Fame induction, Johnson was also inducted in 2000 to the El Dorado Baseball Hall of Fame for his performance with the El Dorado Broncos summer collegiate team during the 1990 and 1991 campaigns.
A native of Salisbury, Mo., Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education with an emphasis in sports management at Fort Hays State in 1997. He is married to the former Gina Spilker of Clay Center, and has two sons, Caleb and Cooper.
• Larry Schugart
One of the founding fathers of the Cougar Booster Club, Schugart and his wife Kathy, of 53 years, have been longtime residents of Great Bend and supporters of Cougar Athletics.
Schugart’s love and appreciation for sports took a big step foward when Barton opened in 1969. During the fall of ’69 Schugart set up a meeting at his office to discuss athletics at Barton. Seven men attended this meeting and the Barton Booster Club was born.
Serving as the Club’s second President following Archie Lindholm, Schugart and this group of men established a booster club that has long been the envy of not only the Jayhawk Conference but well-known throughout the state and country.
From 1969 and continuing through the years, Schugart has kept his commitment to Barton, the athletic department and the Cougar Booster Club. Schugart and his wife’s continued excitement and support of Cougar Athletics is again displayed by a recent generous donation for a new state-of-the-art indoor/outdoor center practice floor in the Kirkman Center.
Outside of the athletic realm, for almost 50 years come this May, Schugart has also been a staple of Landmark Federal Savings Bank located in Great Bend serving as Director, President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board. Additionally, he was the Director of Landmark Bancshares from 1993 until the company’s merger in 2001. Often a man hidden from the public eye, Schugart has been president, served and continues to serve on numerous civic and charitable organizations throughout the area.
In addition to his work around the area, Schugart was the former director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka, where he served on the Finance and Executive Committees, a former member and chair of various committees throughout Kansas and Nebraska, and also served as a member of the Governmental Affairs Committee of the America’s Community Bankers. Schugart’s prominence and extensive financial services experience throughout Great Bend, Dodge City and the region has earned him respect and honor throughout the financial industry.
— Barton Community College