Alumni & Friends

Recognition Awards

Outstanding Tiger Alumni Award


Jack King

Class of 1950

Murry Boyles A celebrated student-athlete at Arkansas City Junior College in the 1950’s and a successful tennis coach at Independence High School, Jack King was recently named Cowley College’s 2013 Outstanding Tiger Alumnus.

Ben Schears, vice president for institutional advancement/student affairs, said each year the Cowley College Foundation selects an alumnus for this honor based upon their efforts at bringing recognition and pride to the college community through their career achievements, service to their community, and support to the Cowley College Foundation.

“Jack really has a heart for the success of the college and we are pleased to be able to present this award to him,” Schears said. “To give you an example of his zeal, last time we met up he was sporting black and orange throughout his suit, even down to his orange socks. He's a tiger inside and out.”

Standing only 5-foot-7, King was unsure that he would ever get an opportunity to play college basketball.

King, who lettered in basketball each of his four years at Winfield High School, went on to join the U.S. Navy. He was offered a scholarship to play basketball at Purdue University after he was to complete his stint in the Navy. However, his time in the Navy was cut short, as he had to return home to help with the family business when his father suffered a stroke.

After two years of tending to the family business, his father's health improved enough to where King could look into going to college.

At the time he was married and had two children. However, with his dream of playing college basketball rekindled, King approached Dan Kahler, who at the time was the head basketball coach at ACJC, about the possibility of playing for the Tigers. Kahler responded by giving the 5-foot-7 King a scholarship.

He not only went on to play basketball at Arkansas City Junior College, he was the captain of the 1952-53 team that finished as the national runner-up.

King, along with another 5-foot-7 guard named Lafayette Norwood, teamed to help ACJC go 29-5 during the 1952-53 season.

“Lafayette and I revitalized the fast break and were as quick as you could find on the court,” King said. “Dan Kahler’s coaching gave us the push we needed. Dan was a great coach and individual, we were real close.”

After playing at ACJC, King joined Norwood and Ray Potter at Southwestern College in Winfield. There, he helped the Moundbuilders reach the NAIA Tournament in Kansas City for the first time since 1939.

“I felt I had to prove myself because of being small,” King said.

After graduating from Southwestern College, King received his Masters degree in the field of Social Science from Northwestern Oklahoma State.

“My goal was to be a teacher,” King said. “I had also played sports all my life, so I also wanted to get into coaching.”

King went on to coach football, baseball, basketball, track and tennis, and served as a social science and physical education instructor during his 30-year career in education.

While coaching tennis at Independence from 1970-1985, King's teams captured 16 league championships (nine girls, seven boys), and qualified for the state tournament a combined 22 times (13 girls, nine boys). His girls' teams also strung together 61 straight dual victories, which still stands as a school record.

“I told our players that once you put those school colors on give it everything you got,” King said.

His life-long accomplishments earned him a spot in the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.

King looks back fondly on his time at ACJC.

"I have got so many friendships that originated from my time at the junior college," King said. "I have great memories and had great times spent at the college. If it wasn't for the junior college and the players on the basketball team, I don't think I would be as successful as I turned out to be. They were a part of my new beginning in life."

King and his wife Marcia, who was the tennis coach at Independence Middle School for more than 20 years, gave private tennis lessons for over 30 years.

He and Marcia reside in Independence and have three children: Roger, Marilyn, and Jeff.

Being named the Outstanding Tiger Alumnus is an honor King does not take lightly. He stays connected with his alma mater and hopes to serve as an inspiration to other young students trying to find their way.

“I love this school and I love the town,” King said. “I contribute to the school to hopefully stimulate someone to have the same feeling I had when I first started as a student-athlete.”