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Should WSU Retire Sara Lungren's #5 Jersey

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  • Should WSU Retire Sara Lungren's #5 Jersey

    Five jerseys hang from the rafters at Koch Arena, all former men's basketball players. It might be time to add a sixth, from a different sport and gender.

    Sara Lungren, Wichita State's outside hitter in volleyball from Caldwell, recently completed the most honored career of any Shocker female in a team sport. It is worth discussing the pros and cons of hanging No. 5 at Koch Arena, the place she helped make a fall destination for thousands of fans.

    Lungren is a two-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, an all-region selection (first team in 2007 and honorable mention in 2006) and twice an MVC scholar-athlete selection. She played on three MVC championship teams and two NCAA Tournament teams.

    That is all groundbreaking stuff at WSU.

    "There's a lot of girls in the last couple years that put a lot into this program," WSU coach Chris Lamb said. "On one hand, I'll always wonder about each of those players if Sara gets something that they don't get. At the same time, I do believe somebody deserves something. We've come a long way in a very, very short time, relatively speaking, in this Division I volleyball thing and we've had, certainly, one very special player."

    Lungren is that special player. Her four years coincided with the growth of Shocker volleyball from a nonentity to a fabulously successful program, in the stands and on the court. As Lamb points out, other Shockers did great things. Lungren's list of accomplishments is the longest.

    "The fact she became a six-rotation player, the fact that she truly became one of the better back-row players in the league, and she always was one of the better front-row players," Lamb said. "It's just hard to argue. Everybody would have to agree nobody's done more than Sara."

    Retiring numbers should not be done lightly, so let us not clear space for Lungren without a thorough exam. It would diminish the honor to rush into a decision based on the emotion of Lungren's skills so fresh in our minds.

    The informal standard at WSU is All-American status (and not just honorable mention), something Lungren has yet to achieve. She is eligible for All-American honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association when its first, second, third teams and honorable-mention picks are announced Wednesday.

    Lungren's career does not match the national juice of men's basketball players such as Dave Stallworth or Xavier McDaniel. All five of the basketball players received some kind of first- or second-team All-America honors. They were, in general, among the best in the nation, player of the year candidates and high NBA Draft picks.

    Should we judge volleyball at WSU by a lesser standard?

    The Nebraskas, Penn States and Hawaiis of the world will dominate the volleyball All-American teams. The AVCA has picked All-America teams since 1981, and four MVC players have made one of the three teams. Lungren is a long shot to earn anything other than honorable mention honors on Wednesday.

    Perhaps it is a matter of perspective. At this point, it is hard to imagine a Shocker volleyball player surpassing Lungren's accomplishments. Perhaps that is the wrong perspective. Perhaps WSU will take another step forward in the coming years and attract players that are even more talented.

    Whether or not WSU takes N 5 out of circulation, Lungren's legacy will always be in the first chapter of the WSU volleyball story.

    "Name the ship after her," Lamb said. "The S.S. Lungren."
    Well here is the food for thought Shocker Fans - what are your thoughts about this.

  • #2
    Great to see a Volleyball player get that kind of respect to even be discussing such a possibility.

    This is a real tough call for me, since I love the Shocker Volleyball program and Sara Lungren is one of my all-time favorite Shockers (from any sport).

    Sara deserves all the adulation and respect she has received.

    However, retiring numbers has to be a very selective process and should be highly restricted. In fact, there is probably one more basketball jersey hanging in the rafters if it was up to me.

    There is absolutely no question that Sara will be in the Shocker Hall of Fame as soon as she is eligible, as will a number of Volleyball players in the near future including perhaps the first to go in Sarah Younes. Abby Harsh also is probably deserving to be in the Shocker HOF.

    It is such a hard call in Sara's case, because not only was she a National-Class volleyball player but she was an outstanding student. There is really not much more you could ask for out of a student athlete.

    At this point I would probably say no, but it sure wouldn't take much to turn me to a yes, and even if I personally don't think that her jersey should be retired I would not complain one bit if the University decided to do so.

    Sara, thank you very much for everthing you did for us Shockers and for our community. I could not be more proud of you.

    Comment


    • #3
      I probably agree with 1972, she was a great athlete and student but i think she comes up just a bit short.

      Who knows though, the last athlete to be selected was from the 80's so maybe they want to see something new up there for a change.

      Comment


      • #4
        When are AA teams announced and does she have a realisitic shot at better than HM?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by McShocker
          When are AA teams announced and does she have a realisitic shot at better than HM?
          I doubt it, but you never know.

          It is my feeling that if Sara hadn't had the knee injury that slowed her both this year and last, she would have been able to put up numbers that would have put her in good contention to do better than honorable mention. As it is, honorable mention would still be quite an honor and Sara will go down as a truly great player in Shocker history.
          "Cotton scared me - I left him alone." - B4MSU (Bear Nation poster) in reference to heckling players

          Comment


          • #6
            She should be held to the same standard as the basketball players and that is AA honors. IMO anything short of 1st team honors and it’s a non-issue. I mean let’s face it, 95% of WSU fans and general sports fans on the face of this earth don’t care about volleyball. Therefore, if someone were to ask (hypothetically speaking) “Who is Sara Lungren and why is a volleyball player’s jersey hanging next to X-Man?” It should be a simple response, “She was 1st team AA.”

            Comment


            • #7
              Just curious BostonWu. Do you count yourself in the 95% who don't care or the 5% who do care about WSU Volleyball?

              Comment


              • #8
                I also have mixed feelings but she seems to be the top prospect among female student-athletes. I think AA awards are more political among some women's sports than men's basketball. I say that because of the AVCA polls and the "regionalization" of the NCAA WVB tourney. Sara deserves all the praise she receives (and more).
                Some posts are not visible to me.
                Don't worry too much about it. Just do all you can do and let the rough end drag.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'd be in favor of it.

                  Sara helped create the VB monster, and it's up to us to keep it alive.

                  I'd also consider last year's outstanding CC runner.....Desiraye Osburn.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BostonWu
                    I mean let’s face it, 95% of WSU fans and general sports fans on the face of this earth don’t care about volleyball.
                    While I think your % are a little overstated, I have to agree with the general premise of your point, that being that the majority of WSU Men's Basketball fans, don't care that much about volleyball.

                    While I think they like to see the team do well, they are not interested enough in financially supporting the Men's Basketball program and the overall athletic program by attending Women's Volleyball matches.

                    However, the following are typical reactions of fans attending their first volleyball matches:

                    Posted by lemuel777

                    For the first time, I was able to bring most of my family tonight (7 people). EVERYONE had fun all the way past the end, pictures with WuShock. What was totally remarkable was I have taken my 7 year old son to a couple of Shocker BB games last year and he was ready to leave shortly after half time and became quite a nuisance.
                    In contrast, tonight he literally was cheering every point and boooing a lost point. He clapped and cheered and yelled. He was into the match all the way to the end, AMAZING. He did not want to leave. My wife's first match and she loved it so much she willl be attending again. She was so into it that she was worn out by the third game. The game is so fast paced us oldies get tired just watching. And of course, my 18 year old son got really into it and enjoyed "watching" the ladies. Thank you Shockers for a great family time tonight, it was a specatular memory maker for us. Thanks.


                    Posted by ShockerFever

                    Hell ya we did. What a great atmosphere period. The noise at times rivaled that heard at most men's bb games. Complete awesomeness! It's too bad I waited til now to see my first game. I never knew how much skill and strategy are involved in volleyball. I have a greater appreciation for the sport now. Two great teams, one fantastic game, and a thrilling come-from-behind WSU WIN!


                    There may be a few fans who have attended a match and did not like it. However, I have yet to actually run across or hear about one of those.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 1972Shocker
                      Originally posted by BostonWu
                      I mean let’s face it, 95% of WSU fans and general sports fans on the face of this earth don’t care about volleyball.
                      While I think your % are a little overstated, I have to agree with the general premise of your point, that being that the majority of WSU Men's Basketball fans, don't care that much about volleyball.

                      While I think they like to see the team do well, they are not interested enough in financially supporting the Men's Basketball program and the overall athletic program by attending Women's Volleyball matches.

                      However, the following are typical reactions of fans attending their first volleyball matches:

                      Posted by lemuel777

                      For the first time, I was able to bring most of my family tonight (7 people). EVERYONE had fun all the way past the end, pictures with WuShock. What was totally remarkable was I have taken my 7 year old son to a couple of Shocker BB games last year and he was ready to leave shortly after half time and became quite a nuisance.
                      In contrast, tonight he literally was cheering every point and boooing a lost point. He clapped and cheered and yelled. He was into the match all the way to the end, AMAZING. He did not want to leave. My wife's first match and she loved it so much she willl be attending again. She was so into it that she was worn out by the third game. The game is so fast paced us oldies get tired just watching. And of course, my 18 year old son got really into it and enjoyed "watching" the ladies. Thank you Shockers for a great family time tonight, it was a specatular memory maker for us. Thanks.


                      Posted by ShockerFever

                      Hell ya we did. What a great atmosphere period. The noise at times rivaled that heard at most men's bb games. Complete awesomeness! It's too bad I waited til now to see my first game. I never knew how much skill and strategy are involved in volleyball. I have a greater appreciation for the sport now. Two great teams, one fantastic game, and a thrilling come-from-behind WSU WIN!


                      There may be a few fans who have attended a match and did not like it. However, I have yet to actually run across or hear about one of those.
                      Plus, when you are top ten in the nation in attendance for a second consecutive year, there is probably a little more fan interest than BostonWu gives us credit for. Nevertheless, the debate about Sara's jersey simply boils down to a philosophical stance. Is All-American the only standard or not? I think you can argue either side but I'm prone to favor All-American status. It's sets the bar high, which I think is right. And I think that if you talked to Chris Lamb, he would say he has every intention of continuing to build the program to the point that his recruits will be in the AA conversation year in and year out.
                      The fact that man is master of his actions is due to his being able to deliberate about them.-- Thomas Aquinas

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        tgcshock: The only issue I have with that standard is that politics in the process of awarding AAs may be worse in WVB than in MBB. The top schools in WVB (e.g. Stanford, Nebraska, etc.) expect to win those awards. If the X-man played VB, he would not have received an AA. On the VB site volleytalk, there is a lot of talk about ignoring stats because "they (the players with good stats) were playing against weak competition" and therefore only the top schools should get AA awards. X faced this problem and mised an AA he should have received IMHO but he eventually got an AA (1985); X should have been an AA in 1984.
                        Some posts are not visible to me.
                        Don't worry too much about it. Just do all you can do and let the rough end drag.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SpanglerFan316
                          tgcshock: The only issue I have with that standard is that politics in the process of awarding AAs may be worse in WVB than in MBB. The top schools in WVB (e.g. Stanford, Nebraska, etc.) expect to win those awards. If the X-man played VB, he would not have received an AA. On the VB site volleytalk, there is a lot of talk about ignoring stats because "they (the players with good stats) were playing against weak competition" and therefore only the top schools should get AA awards. X faced this problem and mised an AA he should have received IMHO but he eventually got an AA (1985); X should have been an AA in 1984.
                          Agreed. As I said in my post, there is an argument for the other position and, frankly, the argument you made is the one I was thinking of. It wouldn't bother me a bit if Sara got her jersey hung but I do think in the long run, fair or unfair, it is easier to hold to the objective standard that we have been using. I understand that may be there is a way to tweak it (allowing second team or honorable mention All-american status) and again I have no real objection.
                          The fact that man is master of his actions is due to his being able to deliberate about them.-- Thomas Aquinas

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The challenge of making All-American no doubt varies from sport-to-sport.

                            For example, in track and field I think they use specific performance parameters to determine All-American status. Run a certain time, or jump a required height, or throw the required distance and you are an All-American. Off course, this sport lends itself to this kind of objective standard. In fact, it is harder to run top times when you are facing inferior competition and maybe or not pushed as hard as you would be against better competition.

                            Also the nature of All-American status has changed in recent years in some sports. For example, in men's basketball if you are an All-American quality player you probalby won't be in college for more than 1 or 2 years.
                            If were lucky enough to recruit a one and done player, I don't think making All-American would be enough to retire his number in and of itself. He would have to have led the team deep into the NCAA Tourney also, say the Final Four.

                            Also, in Dave the Rave's day the MVC was as good, and probably the best basketball conference in the land. Naturally, the MVC had many more All-Americans in those days.

                            Antoine and Cliff were simply great gets for the Shocks who made either other more successful.

                            X-Man was a diamond in the rough who grew into a great player. (Same could be said for Sara).

                            My personal opininion is that the retirement of numbers or Jersies should be based on outstanding career numbers and not just on an outstanding year and also how successful were the teams lead by those individuals.

                            On that basis Sara is certainly worthy of consideration. However, I think she falls just short of receiving such an exclusive honor. Now if the Shocks had knocked off Nebraska in the NCAA Tourney then I might be arguing out of the other side of my mouth.

                            However, I will be shocked if Sara is not a Shocker Hall of Fame pick as soon as she is eligible.

                            If we put Sara's #5 Jersey in the rafters then we have many others of similar ilk to consider including Cheese Johnson, Warren (Armstrong) Jabali, Paul Miller, Sarah Younes, Desiraye Osburn , etc. etc.

                            In Desiraye's case she did not actually compete in the Arena, but where would your otherwise honor a track All-American. It will be interesting to see how Desiray is viewed if she happens to make the Olympic team.

                            Fortunately, we have the Shocker HOF to honor these many very fine athletes.

                            Question: Do we or have we retired any of the numbers/jersies of our many baseball All-Americans are is the listing of their names in the ring of honor at the Eck Stadium Entrance Portal the equivalent honor?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I was wondering about the baseball players too. I don't believe they have been retired, because there just wouldn't be that many usable numbers anymore. I mean guys would be wearing #87 or #91 because all the normal ones are taken.

                              I was trying to read the history but lost count of the number of AA guys. There were seven eventual AAs on the 1980 squad alone.

                              My guess is the ring of honor is Gene's way of retiring jersey's. Go into the All-American club and look at all the AA awards hanging on the wall. It's very impressive.

                              Comment

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