I have really enjoyed reading through this issue.

Thank you.
Phil Jack
BST ‘78

Just received the Spring 2012 issue of the Pitt State Magazine.  Great job.

Tom Speck, BS, 65.

Great magazine. The Extreme Experience article really made my heart swell with pride. I LOVE BEING A GORILLA!!!

Kellie Borders

Thank you for the publication and I enjoy the memories and the updates of campus changes.

Kermit Bohrer “70”

Great issue!!

Gary Price
Olathe, Kan.

Great magazine, I really enjoy getting it !

James Naff
Chanute, Ks. 

We enjoy the magazine.  Keep up the good work.

Tom (61, 64) and Becky Elliott (62)

My wife Nancy and I enjoy reading the many different articles in the Pitt State Magazine!

Brian R. Shultz
Erie, KS  66733

Love this magazine – read it cover to cover. Thanks for a classy production.

Kathy Meyer
PSU Class of 1978


Several of our letters for this issue were inspired by our ongoing “Finding Gus Gorilla” contest.

I knew this (Gus Gorilla) fiber glass sculpture in 1965. I was a PSU student at the time it was installed South of the Student Union. Larry Wooster was an Art instructor of mine.

For many years I owned a fiberglass art piece of Larry Wooster’s. It was a woman’s life-sized head painted black & mounted on a wooden base. Mr. Wooster traded the sculpture for some large pieces of (my) black walnut lumber, which he used for art bases. A few years ago I contacted Larry Wooster’s widow & gave her the women sculpture.

The only reference to the PSU mascot (that I remember) in the 1960s was the words “Gus” & “Gussie” on restroom doors of the Student Union main entrance.

Tom Hankins
BS ‘65 MS ‘68

During the 1964-65 academic year I was Larry Wooster’s graduate assistant. As such, one of my more enjoyable jobs was to assist him in the construction of the original clay sculpture for the work and with the casting of its first version, which was in fiberglass.  Larry was a wonderful man with a great sense of humor.  We remained friends for many years after I graduated.  One of the last times I saw him was when he visited me at my home in Pennsylvania around 1974 or 75. My very best wishes to all Gorillas both past and present.

Larry Holmes
BFA ’64, MS ’65

I am in possession of serial # 2 of the four-foot plastic gorilla being produced at Charloma in Cherryvale. The aluminum castings used to produce Gus were cast at my company, Pressure Cast Products, in Coffeyville, Kan.

Don McFerrin
Class of ‘63

Larry Wooster, Robert Russell, Bert Keeney and Harry Krug were my instructors-heroes!

Charles “Herb” Jenkins
BFA January, 1968

My dad played football at Pitt State for Carnie Smith…coached with Al Ortolani (BS, MS and EdS from Pitt).  I played volleyball at Pitt State (BS and MS degrees from Pitt).  One of my sisters is a Pitt grad also (BS from Pitt).  Currently, my oldest nephew attends Pitt State. Yes, I’m trying to convince you that I should win!!!:)  LOL

Andrea Becker
Secondary Instructional Coach
Turner High School

This is fun every time I get the magazine.

Lisa Jordan 1990

Responses to Then and Now

I saw the photos of the Old Gym in the Spring addition of the Pitt State Magazine and had to smile.  Having had the privilege of being part of the Gorilla Basketball team from 1968 to 1972, I have many fond memories of the Old Gym, including having played in the last game there in February 1971.

In December 1969, the Gorillas faced Rockhurst out of Kansas City, one of the top NAIA teams in the country.  Laced with All Americans, Rockhurst was a formidable team.  The Gorillas, coached by the late Bob Johnson, and led by talented players, Bill Feuerborn, Johnny Battles, Ernie Lewis, and Doug Dodge, the Gorillas played flawlessly that night.  The Old Gym was packed with spectators including the Fifth Floor Animals of Dellinger Hall.  The place was literally rocking.

The Coach of Rockhurst, Dolor Rehm, got so frustrated from the severe beating Rockhurst took that evening, he received three technical fouls, was tossed from the game, and was escorted from the Old Gym.  As he was leaving, he tossed his plaid sport coat into the stands and vowed never to play another game at the Old Gym.

As a reminder of those days, I have one of the original bricks from the Old Gym serving as a doorstop in my office.

Once a Gorilla, Always a Gorilla!

Montie Taylor ‘72
Parsons, Kansas

The old gym could be an intimidating environment for opposing teams. We had some good teams in the mid to late ‘60s and packed, standing-room crowds were the norm.

My most memorable moment came in the closing minutes of a real barn-burner versus a favored and very talented team from Lincoln.

Instigated by the infamous “K-Club,” the entire crowd began stomping non-stop in unison. We must have hit the sympathetic vibration frequency of the building. The old girl began to shake, rattle and roll until paint and other small bits of the ceiling began to rain down on the court.

This had a very unnerving effect on the players and coaches from Lincoln. The blizzard and some good old home-court officiating allowed the Gorillas to pull off an “upset” victory. It was crazy good!

Stephen Rumford
BSed ’68, MS ‘74

The Gym, scrunched in between the tennis courts and the Mine Building on the then north east corner of the campus is full of memories. As a student at Horace Mann I learned to swim in the pool as soon as I was 36″ to my armpit. As the son of a Gorilla basketball fan I watched hours of basketball and enjoyed watching Coach John Lance heckle the refs. (I remember) istening to the band and Oscar Stover playing the trumpet. Later, I earned SCUBA certification in the pool with JayHawk Divers. For four years, I climbed to the crow’s nest platform high in the rafters to play in the Pep Band at all home games. It was also here I met Al Ortolani as a student teacher as we aspired to climb the rope suspended from the lofty ceiling. It was all good. I missed The Gym with its many sounds and smells.

John Robb BA 1964

My memories of the old gym started when I was a boy attending Gorilla basketball games.  I was one of those kids who couldn’t wait for the final buzzer so I could get out on the court in my sock feet and shoot anything into the basket that I could find, whether it was a wadded up program, cup, or wrapper.  I moved on to the real thing as a player for Bob Johnson from 1969 to 1973, which gave me some of the most enjoyable moments of my career at Pitt State, then Kansas State College.  It was an absolutely great place to play(for us, not the visiting team), especially when the crowd got into the game, cheering loudly and rocking the rickety old balcony.  One particular memory was of the game that the coach of the heavily favored Rockhurst College, got upset because his team was underperforming.  The crowd had a lot to do with that, but he got on the wrong side of the referee and was awarded 12 or so(I forget the exact number) technical fouls in a row.  Doug Baker stepped to the line and made every last one of them and I thought the house was literally going to come down.  Of course, nobody mentioned that the ref was a former Gorilla football player.  Never let it be said that we didn’t use every advantage that was afforded us.  My final memory of the old place was the last game ever to be played there, because I had the good fortune to score the last bucket that would ever find the net.  For a few months after that I was sad, knowing that I was going to miss the old gym – – until I stepped onto the brand new floor at Weede.

Dick Dixon