Kershaw's Trusted Voice
Kept Blue Dragon Fans Riveted
“AND THE HUTCHINSON COMMUNITY COLLEGE BLUE DRAGONS ARE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS OF JUNIOR COLLEGE BASKETBALL.”
That was perhaps Jerry Kershaw’s most famous single line of his 50-plus year broadcast career. He got to say it twice as the “Voice” of the Blue Dragons after Hutchinson Community College captured NJCAA men’s basketball national championships in 1988 and again in 1994.
From the tower at Hutchinson Regional Airport to the airwaves of KWBW radio, Kershaw’s voice has been a trusted beacon of the Hutchinson community for more than 55 years.
From the humble beginnings of helping out Gary Bender on the air for two seasons, Kershaw’s time with the mic calling Blue Dragon basketball and football games began in the 1964-65 season.
“I worked at the tower out at the airport. That’s where the official temperature was kept. Dan Deming would call out there all the time to get the official temperature and he found out I was a sports nut,” Kershaw said. “He called one day and asked if I would help Gary out. That’s how it all started.”
For the next 31 years, Kershaw described some of the best that the Blue Dragons had to offer.
By the numbers as a Blue Dragon announcer, Kershaw’s were:
+ 936 men’s basketball games called.
+ The men’s basketball record in that time was 762-214.
+ Hutch won 16 Jayhawk Conference titles.
+ Hutch won 12 Region VI championships.
+ Hutch made 10 NJCAA Tournament appearances.
+ 305 football games called.
+ Hutch football’s record was 164-134-7.
+ Two Jayhawk Conference championships.
+ Called the last undefeated season in Blue Dragon football history in 1969.
“My first two years were Sam (Butterfield’s) last two years” said Kershaw, who in his tenure at KWBW called games with Bender, Bob Watson and fellow Quarterback Club Hall of Fame member Rusty Hilst.
“My second year, it really got rolling when Sam brought in Gene Keady as his assistant. Gene then took over and took us to the national tournament five times. Those were some pretty exciting times and the (Sports Arena) was hopping back then.”
It’s been an entire generation since Kershaw called his last Blue Dragon game for KWBW radio, where he served as the station’s sports director from 1978 to 1995. Kershaw worked as one of the play-by-play voices for the NJCAA Tournament through 2017.
Kershaw, an NJCAA Men’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in 1996, called his 50th NJCAA Tournament in 2014.
“This has been a labor of love,” Kershaw said. “I’ve been associated with a lot of great people. The event grew on you. I had season tickets in 1960 before my first tournament on the radio in 1965. I’ve been an ardent Blue Dragon fan since the 1959-60 season.”
Kershaw’s connection to the Blue Dragons goes deeper than just calling games on the radio.
He was a member of the Quarterback Club from 1963 until he retired and moved to Norman, Okla., in 1995, serving as the club’s president in 1970 and 1971. Kershaw was also the executive director of the Hutchinson Community College Endowment Association from 1987 to 1995.
Kershaw came to Hutchinson in 1959 after four years in the U.S. Air Force and began to work at the Hutchinson Airport as an air traffic controller.
Of all the memories, Kershaw’s fondest ones will always be Hutchinson’s 1988 and 1994 national championship teams.
“Those were just something so special.”