Lee Doyen, 91, of Concordia died February 2, 2013. Lee was a Kansas State basketball letterman who enrolled at KSAC (Kansas State Agricultural College) now Kansas State University in the fall of 1939- and graduated in 1944 (the year I was born) with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics- later earning a Master’s degree from Colorado State University.
He attended the K-State basketball alumni reunion on January 19th and was introduced with the other returning basketball alumni at half time of the Oklahoma game in Bramlage coliseum. He was in a wheel chair at the end of the court when I took this picture (below) as we left to return to our seats.
I had a nice visit with him at the reception afterwards –and he was still raving about the Tex Messages book that I compiled a few years ago since he was featured on two pages. He said, “Larry, I’ve been passing that Tex Messages book all around Concordia and practically half the town has read it by now”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Lee for the book and he revealed some very important history that we recorded during the publication -and the book is still available for purchase at the Claflin Book Store here in Manhattan. Here are some excerpts from our conversation a few years ago.
(Q) Tell me Lee what was it like back in 1939 when you enrolled at KSU?
Lee: “It cost 400 dollars to go to school. Freshmen were not eligible to play sports and the athletes had to maintain a C average. I received a freshmen numeral and Homer Wesche was the freshmen coach. Jack Gardner came to KSU as a basketball coach in 1939- he brought the one handed push shot to Kansas. We played in Nichols gym but Jack was the one who got Ahearn Field house built. Mike Ahearn was the athletic director.”
(Q) Did you play other sports besides basketball?
Lee: “I was a starting pitcher for the baseball team for 2 years. I struck out 15 KU players one night. Phog Allen was baseball coach. We played Ft. Riley and I faced the national league batting champion from the Boston Braves, Frank Reusser. He flied out twice and I struck him out. Mike Ahearn taught me how to pitch. The baseball pitchers mound has been lowered – now the strike zone is lower and narrower. The worth baseball has raised seams and will curve more. Rawlings baseball had a flatter seam.”
(Q) How has the game of basketball changed?
Lee: “It started out with one official and ended up with three. I saw the introduction of the rubber basketball and all the rule changes. One rule change was that you had a choice of taking the ball out of bounds after a foul or you could shoot the free throw. Another change was the shape of the backboards and the width of the free throw lane. Back in high school I got in on the last year of center jump after every made goal in 1936-37.”
(Q) What fond memory do you have about your experience after graduating from Kansas State?
Lee: “I enjoyed my days at KSU. The last game I played in was at Oklahoma University and we traveled by train. At graduation I received a large purple K blanket and a leather sleeved jacket. I also received a lifetime pass to all KSU sports.”
Lee was “Mr. Concordia” and was known for his community involvement including two terms as mayor, a city commissioner, the historical society, Kiwanis, Rotary , American Legion and active in his church-serving in leadership roles including the church building committee.
Lee is the oldest of four brothers who all attended Kansas State and three survive him- including Ray Doyen and wife Peggy, Ross Doyen and wife Katherine of Concordia, and Mark Doyen and wife Marjorie, Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
These were my last words to Lee as I was leaving Bramlage on January 19th, “Lee, we need to do a story about the four Doyen brothers since you are all still living.” Lee nodded, and said, “That would be nice”.
Farewell Lee- we didn’t get that Brothers Doyen story but -Thank you for your loyalty to your Alma Mater - May you rest in peace.
PS: I want to thank Ron Green for notifying me today about Lee. Ron played freshmen basketball at K-State for me in the late 60’s and attended the reunion in January. Lee’s daughter Ann was a classmate of Ron’s at Concordia High School… and just a few days ago Ron emailed me and asked for her address. Then I get a return email today about Lee’s death. That is what Triangulating is all about. (Thanks Ron)
My last Triangulate News update was about the death of Ray Wauthier another Kansas State legend. Don’t wait to tell someone you care about them- because you never know when you won’t have that chance again. I had my chance in Bramlage 20 days ago, and I’m so glad we had that last- Goodbye- one I’ll always remember.
From Nichols Gym where Lee played in 1940—To Ahearn- Then Bramlage- and now the new Basketball practice facility (pictured here) where we held the Legends reception in the upper level reception area on January 18, 2013.
Thank you Lee for paving the way….We are grateful!