The Hargroves –
Outstanding Tiger Alumni
Having brought recognition and pride to the Cowley College community through their achievements in their chosen profession and in their service to the community, Ed and Linda Hargrove were recently named recipients of the Outstanding Tiger Alumni Award by the Cowley College Endowment Association.
Each year the Cowley College Endowment Association selects an Outstanding Tiger Alumnus to bring honor to alumni who have led successful careers after Cowley and who have given financial support to further the mission of the Endowment Association. The couple, who have been married since 1970, have demonstrated outstanding leadership during their time at the school. Ed, who has coached the Cowley softball team since 1985, is the school’s all-time winningest coach, while Linda achieved the most wins in the history of the Lady Tiger basketball program.
“Ed and Linda have both individually had outstanding careers,” Ben Schears, vice president for institutional advancement said. “They love the college and it’s not often we have a married alumni couple who have reached their level of achievements. The contributions they have made throughout their respective careers in support of the college made them a clear choice for this year’s award.”
Linda is a 1970 graduate of Cowley College. She is the only Cowley coach to take basketball and volleyball teams to the national tournament. She compiled a record of 292 wins and 115 losses in 10 seasons as the school’s head volleyball coach, while going 316-112 in 17 seasons as the head women’s basketball coach.
Linda earned National Coach of the Year honors in 1987, was named Region VI Coach of the Year four times, and coached several All-Americans in basketball and volleyball.
“I loved every minute I coached at Cowley,” Linda said. “I think our success was due to recruiting really good players/ people who were competitive and wanted to win as bad as I did.”
Along with coaching at Cowley, she also served as the Director of Admissions and the Region 6 Director. Linda was also an outstanding athlete at Cowley and started Cowley’s track team.
“I was running at a national level in high school and AAU but there were few opportunities for girls in sports back in the late 60’s,” Linda said. “My dad said that I would go to Cowley and if I wanted to continue to compete then I could start a track team. I talked with Dr. Nelson, President, and he was so supportive. He even drove some of us to track meets. Later he asked me to come back and start the women’s basketball program, and I was really excited to do this in 1972.”
She went on to have a successful stint as the head women’s basketball coach at Wichita State University and is the second all-time winningest coach in the history of that program. She later served as the general manager and head coach of the Portland Fire of the Women’s National Basketball Association and went on to become the general manager for the Washington Mystics and an advisor for the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock.
“I loved coaching at Wichita State and then in the pros,” Hargrove said. “Working with really motivated players and staffs was especially rewarding. As GM I really enjoyed evaluating talent and negotiating trades, managing the cap and leading the staff. The worst part was waiving really good hardworking players.”
She was inducted into the initial class of the Cowley Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000 and is a member of the Southwestern College Hall of Fame, NJCAA Hall of Fame.
Linda was humbled to learn she and Ed were recipients of this
year’s Outstanding Tiger Alumni Award.
“Cowley meant so much to me for so many years, and this just makes me feel really special,” Hargrove said.
Ed Hargrove spent the past 30 years as the head softball coach at Cowley and his more than 1,142 wins ranked first in the nation on the National Junior College Athletic Association wins list prior to his recent retirement.
The Lady Tigers won eight of the past 12 Jayhawk East championships and placed in the top-seven at the national tournament each of the past three seasons. For his efforts, he was named the 2013 Jayhawk East Coach of the Year while he and assistant coach, Jenny Hoyt, were named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association NJCAA Division II National Coaching Staff of the Year in 2013.
Prior to becoming the head softball coach at Cowley College he attended Cowley on a football scholarship. Known as an outstanding athlete, he played football for the Tigers during the 1965 and 1966 seasons and graduated from the school in 1967.
He was an all-conference right tackle for the Tiger football team. He was named the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division Coach of the Year eight times and was inducted into the NJCAA Softball Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Cowley Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.
He also received the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission Outstanding Achievement Award and was the recipient of the Pride of Kansas Award from the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in recognition of his years of dedication and commitment to the youth of Kansas in his role as head coach of one of the most successful softball programs over the past 30 years.
Hargrove, a 1967 graduate of Cowley College, has received numerous athletic awards through the years, but this award has extra significance. “I know many of the previous Outstanding Tiger Alumni recipients, so to now be in that group is somewhat overwhelming,” Hargrove said.
This is the first award that the Hargroves have received together. “That we get to share this award makes this award that much more special,” Ed Hargrove said. Linda echoed those sentiments. “I think it is only right that we are recognized together,” Linda said. “Cowley has meant so much to both of us over the years and also our kids and extended family.
Cowley was definitely a family affair for the Hargroves.”