Dr. Ken Ayers
Softball Head Coach (1980, 83-85, 87-97)
Dr. Ken Ayers was the first to serve as the Panthers Softball Coach, starting the program in 1980. A Criminal Justice Professor at Kentucky Wesleyan, he led the program to three Great Lakes Valley Conference Championships (1984, 89, 94). Dr. Ayers was awarded Great Lakes Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 1984 and 1991. Dr. Ayers remains the softball program all-time wins leader in any sport with 351 wins in 15 years.
Men’s Basketball (1985-88)
J.B Brown was selected as a First-Team All-American and voted to the Kentucky Wesleyan College All-Century team in 1988. A 1988 All-Great Lakes Valley Conference selection, Brown was a starter and key figure on the 1987 NCAA Division II Championship team. He still holds career records for blocked shots (121), 14th on the career scoring list (1,233 points) and 9th in career rebounds with 797.
Men’s Basketball (1956-57)
Mason Cope achieved several firsts during his time at Kentucky Wesleyan. His achievements include starting in the first Division II Championship game in NCAA history in 1957 and being the first Panther to be drafted into the NBA by the St. Louis Hawks in 1957. Cope was a two-time All-American selection in 1956 and 1957. Mason Cope was chosen for the All-NCAA Championship team and All-South Region selection in 1957.
Men’s Basketball Head Coach (1972-80)
Bob Jones led the Panthers to the 1973 NCAA Championship with a 24-6 record in his first year at Kentucky Wesleyan. For his efforts, Jones was voted the 1973 National Coach of the Year. The following year, the Northern Kentucky native kept the Panthers at a No. 1 ranking for six weeks and finished second in the NCAA Midwest Region. Jones left Wesleyan with a record of 119-90 for a 56.9 winning percentage.
Sam L. Smith
Men’s Basketball (1986-87)
Sam Smith was chosen as an NCAA All-American and was a starter on the NCAA Championship team in 1987. He was named NCAA Most Outstanding Player of the National Championship game and was later voted to the Kentucky Wesleyan College All-Century team. Smith was a two-time All-Great Lakes Valley Conference selection and landed 1,115 career points in only two years.
During his time at Wesleyan, Cory Wade was able to set several records. Wade currently sits third on the career strikeouts list (177), fifth in complete games pitched (14), eighth in career innings pitched (180) and ninth in career wins (13). After college, Wade pitched in the Major Leagues for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008-09 and the New York Yankees in 2011-12.
Established in 1954
In 1954, a group of Kentucky Wesleyan athletic boosters decided that the athletic programs at Kentucky Wesleyan needed extra funding in order to compete in intercollegiate athletics. Thus was born the All American Club. Fans fostered this idea with the purpose of the organization to encourage, promote and support all aspects of all sports engaged in by the Kentucky Wesleyan athletic program.
For the past 60 years, the All-American Club has raised funds for the athletic department by soliciting membership and contributions from Kentucky Wesleyan alumni, faculty, staff, parents and friends of the college. It has also procured funds through various fundraisers throughout the year. The Club sponsors these activities with the scholar-athlete in mind, trying to enhance the scholar-athlete experience.
50th Anniversary of the 1966 Men’s Basketball NCAA College Division National Championship Team
This special group consisted of 15 players, 2 managers and 2 coaches of their first-ever NCAA Championship 50 years ago. Head coach Guy Strong and assistant coach Bob Daniels led the Panthers to a 54-51 victory over Southern Illinois before a crowd of 10,319 at Roberts Stadium in Evansville, Ind., on March 11, 1966.