In 1891, a PE instructor and chaplain, James Naismith, invented the game of basketball. His purpose was to provide young athletes indoor conditioning during the winter months. In 1898, he brought his game to the University of Kansas. There he established an athletic program that has become one of the most prestigious in the United States. Fast forward to the early 1940’s. The game of basketball had spread to many colleges and organizations. However, at colleges affiliated with the Free Methodist Church, intercollegiate sports was still not allowed.
In 1943, J.T. Pyle and G. Ray Phillippi, both Central College Trustees and West Kansas Conference delegates, offered a proposal to the General Conference to allow the colleges affiliated with the church to begin a basketball program. The church approved and basketball was to begin at Central in 1943-44 along with other church colleges.
Central Christian College of Kansas, as it is known today, played a pivotal role in starting intercollegiate athletics at Free Methodist colleges. Since then, the Central Athletic program has grown to include 16 athletic programs made up of both men's and women's sports. The college continues to leverage athletics to benefit our community and as a key way to introduce students to the message of the Gospel.
In 1994, Central launched the Athletic Hall of Fame in order to recognize the commitment and dedication of the program's key individuals. It is the institution's pride to regularly recognize the achievements of our alumni through the hall of fame event.