Currently without a football team, there was a time that Wichita State University was known as one of the better gridiron schools around. This was back in the first part of the 1900’s though and a lot has happened since then. In 1947, the team stepped up to the Missouri Valley Conference and from that point on it had its struggles. It would make it to three bowl games during its history, but lose each one. In 1970, the school would suffer a major tragedy when a plane carrying players, administrators, and fans would crash, killing 31. 1986 would see the university cut the football program completely, citing lack of support and poor attendance.
Quarterbacks are the players on a team that get the most attention though and three players have played quarterback at Wichita State and then gone on to be drafted into the National Football League.
Henry Schichtle – 1964
Henry “Hank” Schichtle was a great quarterback for the Shockers and was a key reason the school’s football program was recognized nationally during his two years as the starting quarterback there. He would go on to play two seasons with the New York Giants, a year with the Atlanta Falcons during their first year in football, and then a couple of years in the Canadian Football League.
Tom Owen – 1974
Drafted in the 13th round of the 1974 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, Tom Owen played ten seasons in pro football after having a great career at Wichita State. He would see time on the rosters of the 49ers, New England Patriots, Washington Redskins, and New York Giants.
Sam Adkins – 1977
Sam Adkins was a fan favorite at Wichita State and would go on to be drafted in the 10th round of the 1977 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. His pro career would be confined to Seattle and mostly be as a backup quarterback to Jim Zorn there. After his playing days ended in 1981, Adkins moved on to broadcasting in the Seattle area.