Born: January 14, 1930 - Slaton, TX
Graduated: Newton High School, 1948; University of Kansas, 1952
Playing for legendary Newton High School head basketball coach John Ravenscroft, Bill Lienhard developed the skills that would take him all the way to Olympic gold.
A Newton Railer
Lienhard was the leading scorer for the Newton Railer teams in both his junior and senior seasons, earning All-Conference honors both years. He earned All-State honors following his senior year when he led the state in scoring and guided the Railers to a 25-1 record. His senior year in Newton in 1948 helped attract the attention of another famous coach, Phog Allen of the University of Kansas.
A National Champion
Lienhard was part of a stellar class of recruits which included Clyde Lovellette, Bill Hougland, Bob Kenney, and John Keller. Lienhard broke into the starting lineup as a sophomore during the 1949-1950 season and finished fourth on the team in scoring. He finished fourth on the team in scoring again as a junior in 1950-1951. During Lienhard's senior year, he was named a senior co-captain and the Jayhawks won the Big Seven Conference. The Jayhawks also claimed the NCAA national championship in 1952 and Lienhard scored twelve points in the championship game.
Lienhard was one of seven Jayhawks chosen to represent the United States at the Olympics in 1952 after finishing second to the Peoria Caterpillars during the Olympic playoffs. Lienhard averaged four points per contest for the gold medal winning U.S. team.
Lienhard is a member of the University of Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame and received the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame's "Pride of Kansas" Award in 2012.