Rice University Owls track and field discus thrower Ken Stadel
Black and white photograph of Rice University Owls track and field athlete Ken Stadel, headlining his achievement into the Rice Athletic Hall of Fame. Caption reads: No way can we say, as for fellow inductee Harold Solomon, that Ken Stadel is “inch for inch or pound for pound” the greatest Rice athletic of all time. But that’s kind of an unfair comparison to make because Stadel is about twice the size of Solomon and many other Rice athletes for that matter. Nevertheless, Stadel is probably one of the most decorated Rice athletes of all, if not one of the biggest as well. Consider that well after his Rice years Stadel was ranked among the top five in the world in the discus (1977-79). Including some of his years at Rice, Stadel was also ranked among the top 10 discus throwers in the United States a grand total of 11 years. Those are pretty hefty numbers for a big old country boy from Kansas who came to Rice in the fall of 1970, the same year that Solomon also matriculated to Rice. But Stadel wasn’t really that big when he got to Rice. In fact, he was almost skinny at about 195 on a 6’6” frame and about as well regarded for his basketball background as he was in track for his discus exploits. But his interest lied more in track than round ball, a fact that greatly pleased track coach Augie Erfurth and young assistant Bobby May. Under their guidance, Stadel soon became a young phenom in the discus, winning the SWC titles as a freshman in 1971. He repeated that title the next three years becoming a rare four-time SWC track champion. He was also a two-time NCAA all-America, finishing second in the nation in both 1972 and 1973 to the legendary Mac Wilkins. Although he had to settle for second at the NCAA’s twice, Stadel won plenty of other major titles including the Kansas Relays, Texas Relays and the afore-mentioned SWC Championships. His SWC winning-toss of 202’11” in 1973 still stands as the SWC meet record nearly 17 years later, while he also remains as the school record-holder in both the discus (209’2”) and shot put (60’11”). While still at Rice, Stadel gained the coveted Bob Quin Award, the greatest honor that can come to a Rice athlete, in 1974. He also won the Emmett Brunson Award in 1974. Ken Stadel was born in 1952 in Topeka although he was raised in nearby Quenemo, Kansas where his dad owned a farm. He became interested in track and field as a child (tossing bales of hay, perhaps?). That interest, coupled with his good grades, earned him an athletic scholarship to Rice in 1970. He was a real diamond in the rough who went from a 195-pound weakling to about 280-plus via vigorous strength and weight training programs by the time he graduated with a B.A. in biology in 1974. Ken moved to California that summer, and spent eight fine years in the Bay Area working, training and competing in the discus and shot put. He was an AAU All-America in 1975 and 1977-79 and a TAC All-America in 1982. He also continued his education while in California, earning a Master’s Degree from San Jose State in 1983. While in California, he met and married his lovely wife Jean. Ken and Jean now live in Osage City, Kansas where they are raising two children - - Luke (5) and Anna (3). Ken is owner and operator of a building materials business in Osage City, and is in the process of expanding his business. Rice has been famous for a long line of famous and successful discus men through the years, dating back to the 1920’s when the long-time secretary of the “R” Association, Fred Stancliff, Sr. was winning SWC titles. But to date the best of them all has been a likeable giant, Ken Stadel from Kansas, who has brought glory to Rice, and now Rice honors him!
Rice Athletic Hall of Fame (poor quality image)
Citable link to this pagehttps://hdl.handle.net/1911/64117
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