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Displays featuring trailblazers in Kansas State football’s history are shown in Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Kansas State Athletics on Saturday honored eight trailblazers from its history.

Before and during the K-State football team’s home game versus Iowa State, the athletics department recognized eight former student-athletes from four sports: Dave Baker (baseball), Priscilla Gary (women’s basketball), Hoyt Givens (football), Harold Robinson (football), Ray Romero (football), Veryl Switzer (football), Gene Wilson (men’s basketball) and Earl Woods (baseball).

There are three permanent “Trailblazers” displays:

• the west concourse at Bill Snyder Family Stadium features former Robinson, Switzer, Givens and Romero;

• near the concourse of Section 7 at Bramlage Coliseum, there are displays honoring Wilson and Gary;

• between the main gate and team clubhouse entrance at Tointon Family Stadium are displays of Woods and Baker.

The displays at Bramlage and Tointon will be officially unveiled at basketball and baseball games later this season.

“We have a proud tradition here at K-State, and these eight individuals are just a few of the many K-Staters who worked tirelessly yet gracefully so that others may follow in their footsteps,” K-State athletics director Gene Taylor said in a release. “This recognition is only fitting and will provide a permanent place for Wildcat fans to learn of our storied history.”

Videos highlighting the eight trailblazers played before and during Saturday’s football game, which served as the department’s “Diversity and Inclusion game” for the 2021 campaign.

Bios of each trailblazer is included below, courtesy of K-State Athletics.

Dave Baker (1978-83)

In 1978, K-State athletics director DeLoss Dodds called Dave Baker back home to coach the Wildcats. Baker became the first Black head baseball coach at a Big 8 Conference institution. To this day, he is the only Black coach to have been a head baseball coach in K-State history, as well as Big 8 (and Big 12) history.

Priscilla Gary (1982-83)

The first female student-athlete inducted into the K-State Sports Hall of Fame in 1998, Gary also was the first Black female to be named an All-American as she was a 1982 and 1983 selection in women’s basketball.

Hoyt Givens (1949-50)

The first Black non-scholarship football player in the Big 6 Conference. He joined Harold Robinson as the first two Black athletes to compete in an event at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

Harold Robinson (1949-50)

The first Black scholarship athlete in the Big 7 Conference. Robinson was a 2004 inductee to the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame. Robinson earned All-Big 7 First Team honors in 1950.

Ray Romero (1947-49)

One of the first Hispanics to play in the NFL, Romero played for the Wildcats from 1947 to 1949 and was a member of the 1951 Philadelphia Eagles team.

Veryl Switzer (1951-53)

First Black scholarship student-athlete to graduate from K-State. Held career punt return record until 1995 and scored the second-longest punt return in school history. Drafted fourth overall by the Green Bay Packers in first round of the 1954 NFL Draft.

Gene Wilson (1951-52)

K-State’s first Black scholarship basketball player. Broke the Big 7 Conference color barrier along with LaVannes Squires of Kansas by becoming the first black scholarship basketball athletes in the Big 7.

Earl Woods (1951-53)

Attended K-State where he would go on to break the Big 7 Conference color barrier in 1951 by becoming the first Black baseball player in Big 7 history. Woods went on to earn a varsity letter in both 1952 and 1953. He was offered a contract by the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues but turned down the offer to finish his degree.

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