Nelson, Sproles, Allen named to K-State HOF

Arne Green
Jordy Nelson, who spent most of his successful NFL career with the Green Bay Packers, was one of 11 individuals named Wednesday to the 2020 class of the Kansas State Athletics Hall of Fame.

Three All-American football players and a trio of contributors with Salina ties were among 11 individuals named Wednesday to the Kansas State Athletics Hall of Fame.

The 2020 class includes football standouts David Allen, Jordy Nelson and Darren Sproles, while Marty, John and Mary Vanier — children of K-State legacy family Jack and Donna Vanier and major contributors to the athletic department in their own right — will be inducted, as well.

The other five members of the 2020 class are former women's basketball star Laurie Koehn, volleyball great Liz Wegner, baseball's A.J. Morris, men's basketball All-American Mike Wroblewski and track and field standout Atila Zsiovczky.

“This year’s group of 11 individuals is a star-studded class, and we are excited to welcome them into the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame,” said Kenny Lannou, executive associate athletics director for communications and Hall of Fame chairman. “Each of these inductees has made a lasting impact on K-State athletics and Kansas State University, and we look forward to welcoming them back to Manhattan this fall for a special induction weekend.”

The class is the 13th in the history of the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame, including the charter class of 1990, and will be honored during the weekend of Sept. 5. Official induction ceremonies will take place on Friday, Sept. 4, before the inductees are recognized at halftime of the football game against Buffalo the following day.

Hall of fame biographies

David Allen — Allen starred for K-State football from 1997 through 2000 as a running back and return specialist. Despite an injury-shortened senior season, he left K-State as the all-time leader in career punt return average, yards, attempts and touchdowns, with his seven career punt-return touchdowns tying an NCAA record. As a sophomore in 1998, he became the first player to return a punt for a touchdown in three consecutive weeks while setting an NCAA record with four punt returns for touchdowns in a season, and earning consensus first-team All-American honors.

Laurie Koehn — Koehn was one of the top shooters in women’s NCAA history while at K-State from 2002-05. She is the all-time Big 12 leader in 3-point field goals made with 392 (also an NCAA record until 2020). She ranks fifth in school history in career points with 1,733.

A.J. Morris — Morris led the Wildcats as a junior to their first-ever NCAA Regional appearance. Morris ended the season with a school-record 14 wins, a 2.09 ERA, earning Big 12 pitcher of the pear, first-team all-Midwest Region honors, District Player of the Year and NCAA Houston All-Regional team honors.

Jordy Nelson — A walk-on safety from Riley, as a freshman in 2003, Nelson eventually switched to wide receiver and blossomed into one of the greatest at that position in program history. A second-round draft choice by the Green Bay Packers in 2008, Nelson reached stardom with the Packers and in the NFL, winning Super Bowl XLV in 2011, setting the Packers’ single-season receiving record in 2014 and earning his first Pro Bowl selection.

Darren Sproles — Arguably the greatest running back ever to play at K-State, Sproles became a three-time All-American while with the Wildcats. In 2003, he was tabbed first-team All-American, finished fifth in the Heisman voting, and third in the voting for Associated Press player of the year, all while helping the Wildcats upset No. 1 Oklahoma on the way to their first Big 12 title. Sproles still holds numerous school records, including rushing yardage in a single season with 1,986 yards and in a career with 4,979 yards. Sproles also enjoyed a successful 15-year NFL career, retiring in 2019 ranking fifth on the NFL’s career all-purpose yardage list with 19,696 yards.

Marty, John and Mary Vanier — The Vaniers grew up on their family's Brookville ranch and continued the tradition of tremendous support of Kansas State and K-State Athletics. In addition to their many university, civic and local honors, awards and gifts, Marty, John and Mary Vanier have contributed or been part of many critical K-State Athletics projects benefiting Wildcat student-athletes and fans from multiple sports. All three were part of the 2005 Vanier family gift to K-State Athletics, then in 2014, the Vanier family gave a transformational gift of $60 million to Kansas State. Their parents, Jack and Donna Vanier, were inducted into the K-State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.

Liz Wegner — The first two-time All-American in K-State volleyball history, Liz Wegner-Busch helped the Wildcats to one of their most success four-year stretches from 1998-2001. While helping K-State to 80 victories and four NCAA Tournament appearances, Wegner set the school record for career kills with 1,907, kills per set at 4.48, 20-kill matches with 27, total attacks at nearly 4,900, and total points at 2,161.

Mike Wroblewski — A first-team All-American and school record holder, Wroblewski played for Tex Winter and K-State men’s basketball from 1959-62. As a senior in 1962, Wroblewski led the Wildcats with 19 points and 8.5 rebounds per game for a team that went 22-3 and finished No. 6 in the Associated Press Top 25.

Attila Zsiovczky — A native of Hungary, Zsiovczky was a star multi-event track and field student-athlete at K-State from 1997 through 1999. While at K-State, Zsiovczky set a then-indoor school record in the heptathlon with 5,786 points in 1998, a mark that still ranks third all-time, and still holds the outdoor school record in the decathlon at 8,379 points, a mark set when he won the European U-23 meet in Sweden in 1999.