Doc and Coach Slay honored
A lot has happened since Emporia State’s 2012 Homecoming celebration, when hundreds of John “Doc” Baxter’s friends and former students filled Webb Hall to celebrate his retirement.
Along with substantial contributions to the John Baxter Athletic Training Scholarship have come almost $182,000 in gifts to support a complete remodeling of what was unveiled during Homecoming 2013 as the John Baxter Sports Medicine Center.
“Everyone we asked said ‘yes’ to the idea,” said Russ Jenkins, who helped raise money for the training room renovation project.
As Emporia State’s head athletic trainer, Doc Baxter kept students, student-athletes, community members, and athletes from surrounding schools healthy during his 46-year career. Additionally, Baxter worked with numerous individuals and groups to ensure that Emporia State’s campus and the Emporia community was a friendly place for individuals with disabilities.
“The improvement in here will benefit our athletes tremendously,” said Dustin Enslinger, head men’s athletics trainer. “We’re able to give our athletes the first-class treatment they deserve to get them back on the field or the court as soon as we can.”
A month later, it was “grand reopening” time for the arena floor at William L. White Civic Auditorium in Emporia. Now known as Slaymaker Court in honor of former head men’s basketball coach Ron Slaymaker, the hardwood floor sports Coach Slay’s iconic signature as testament to a life spent on the basketball court.
Slaymaker played high school games at White Auditorium, spent four years on the Hornet basketball team, then enjoyed a career of 28 years as the team’s head coach.
“When you get into coaching, having a court named after you is not on your list of goals,” Slaymaker said. “When it did happen, I felt a lot of gratitude and a little bit of shock.”
“When people think of Emporia State and the history and success of Emporia State they think of Ron Slaymaker,” said Kent Weiser, athletics director. “He has certainly been the face of the basketball program, but really the athletics department for so many years.”
For information on contributing to the John Baxter Sports Medicine Center renovation, the John Baxter Athletic Training Scholarship, or the Ron and Shirley Slaymaker Scholarship Fund, please contact the Emporia State Foundation, 620-341-5440.