Even in difficult times, KSU has plenty to celebrate at Homecoming

FRANKFORT, Ky.. (WTVQ/KSU Public Affairs) – The Kentucky State University community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends celebrated the in-person return of Homecoming with an uplifting spirit Oct. 4-9.

Homecoming 2020 was virtual due to the pandemic, but was brought back with extra precautions for 2021. With the recent transition in leadership and financial challenges, Kentucky State constituents had a choice: to be pitiful or powerful in their celebration. Thorobreds chose power throughout the week’s festivities.

Kentucky State officially crowned its new royalty Thursday evening during the 2021 coronation. Dezyree’ Marie Fields and Christian Xavier White ascended the throne as the 92nd Miss Kentucky State University and the 28th Mister Kentucky State University.

Fields is a social work major with a minor in speech from Indianapolis, Indiana. White is a communications major with a focus in public relations from Mississippi.

A Thorobred cancer survivor was honored Friday morning during the Breast Cancer 5K Walk at Kentucky State. Chrystal Woodard was honored and recognized for beating cancer and her story received media attention.

Thorobreds participated in the walk to honor those fighting cancer and those who’ve lost the battle, as well as bring awareness to the cause.

The University celebrated Founder’s Day on Friday, where the message was uplifting and bold.

Kentucky State University Acting President Clara Ross Stamps spoke about the past and future of Kentucky State. 

Our ancestors envisioned this day for Kentucky State University,” Stamps said. “It’s not by accident. This institution was created for us, so we have to speak life into our future. We will not be the first public state institution to close. Not Kentucky State University. It will be here for another 135 years.”

Dr. Corey Hicks, a 1995 alumnus, provided the convocation address.

Hicks talked about how his grades and ACT scores led him to believe college wasn’t for him, but Kentucky State nurtured him and helped mold him into what he is today.

Hicks holds a Bachelor of Arts in education from Kentucky State University, a Master of Science in health science from Concordia University Irvine in California, a Ph.D. in health and human performance from Concordia University Chicago in River Forest. He is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated, and the founder and CEO of the Three V’s LLC.

Inspirational Thorobreds were also honored at Kentucky State, such as trailblazers like Dr. Lee Charles Harris, who was instrumental in developing the School of Nursing, and Darren E. Bryant, who became the youngest Black mayor in Illinois history with his recent victory in the Robbins mayoral election.

The Golden Classes of 1970 and 1971 were honored and celebrated with special recognition at Founder’s Day, as well as throughout the weekend. The golden classes showed their youth and exuberance on the dance floor in the 1886 Stable Club on game day, proving they’ve still got it. New members of the Kentucky State University K Club Athletic Hall of Fame were inducted as part of Homecoming, as well. Isadore Rich, Kenneth Joiner, Kristic Ploucha, Larry Adams, Marshall Glover Jr., and Steven Baldon Jr. made up the class of 2021 Athletic Hall of Fame.

In what some described as the one of the best concerts in Kentucky State University Homecoming history, Midnight Star wowed the crowd at Alumni Stadium Friday night.

Thorobreds young and old came out to enjoy and celebrate the successful alumni, who topped the charts in the 1980s with hits like “Operator”, “Freak-A-Zoid” and “No Parking (On the Dance Floor)”.

The Frankfort community showed up in strong support of Kentucky State for the Homecoming parade, which featured amazing marching bands from around the land, including the Mighty Marching Thorobreds. The message from the community was clear: we stand with Kentucky State.

On the football field, the Thorobreds put an exclamation point on the weekend and reiterated the message of the week: Kentucky State is not to be underestimated.

The Breds dominated the Lane College Dragons 49-14 with a punishing ground game and stout defense. Lane was riding a four-game win streak and coming off the heels of a 71-0 win against Texas College the week prior before running into the Thorobreds and the Homecoming crowd at Alumni Stadium.

The Kentucky State University K Club Athletic Hall of Fame included Larry Adams ’98, Steven L. Baldon ’75, Marshall Glover Jr. ’66, Kenneth Joiner ’85, Kirtrice Ploucha ’17 and Isadore Rich.

Larry Adams, Baseball – 1998 Graduate
Larry Adams is a Detroit, Michigan (Central High School) native.  He was recruited by KSU (formerly Kentucky State College) by Hall of Fame Coach James Oliver in January, 1972.

Larry was one of the four original players (Kevin Threatt, Steve Ford, and Tony Davis) from Detroit that helped start the turn around of the KSU failing program into a powerhouse in baseball.   Within two years, there were over 15 baseball players from the Metro Detroit area on the KSU baseball team.

Larry was a starting pitcher for three and a half years.  He had great control that enabled him to have a career Earn Run Average (ERA) of 2.10.  As a freshman, he won the “ERA Award” for KSU as he had six wins and two losses with a 1.70 ERA.  He helped give the KSU baseball team their first winning season in over two decades.  The team won 28 games during his freshman year.  A great improvement from the five-win season in 1971-72

The following season, 1972-73, the team barely missed the playoff as an Independent.  Even though they broke the school win record again with 35 victories, he still was able to win five games and recorded just two losses.  His ERA was 2.20.

Once again, Larry was involved with the 1973-74 teams that broke the school record in victories with 40.   The team made the playoffs for the first time before losing in the first round, as Larry had an eight win and two loss season with a 2.20 ERA.

In the 1974-75 season, Larry’s senior season, the team continued to once again assist in the improvement of the historic baseball program that won 44 games to break another school record for victories.  This season the Thorobreds made the playoffs but were eliminated in the second round.  He finished the season with five wins and zero losses, plus maintained a 2.00 ERA.

His overall college record as a pitcher was 24 wins – six losses with a career 2.10 ERA.  He averaged nine strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

Larry earned four Athletic Letters at KSU.  He graduated early with a 3.2 GPA with Departmental Honors and made the Dean’s List several times.

Larry is currently residing in Southfield, Michigan.  He is married to Linda Adams.

Steven L. Baldon, Football – 1975 Graduate
Steven, is a Louisville, Kentucky (Central High School) native.  He was not recruited by KSU (formerly Kentucky State College) while playing football in High School.  He was observed by the new head football coach, LeRoy V. Smith, while playing a pick-up basketball game in Bell Gymnasium during his time at the KSC Upward Bound program.   Because of his athleticism on the basketball court and his impressive 6’3″, 235 lb. frame, Coach Smith offered Steven a 4-year scholarship to play on the Offensive Line as a Guard/Tackle.

Playing on the offensive line and not playing in a conference, it’s hard to received national recognition or All-American honors.  Yet Steven was one of the main reasons that KSU had a winning season.  KSU ended the season with an 8-3 record, which earned a spot in the post season Orange Blossom Classic game against Florida A&M University.

Steven was awarded the “Most Valuable Offensive Player” at the Orange Blossom Classic even though KSC lost 27-9 in the game.   This was the first time an Offensive Lineman was given an MVP Award.  During the winning streak, Steven was also awarded the MVP Award at the “Thorobred Classic” in Louisville, KY.  KSC defeated Federal City College (Washington, DC) 29-3.  Once again, a unique award given to an Offensive Lineman.

As an Offensive Lineman, Steven was known for protecting the quarterback and opening the lanes for the running back.  He was considered by his peers as a very hard worker on the field.  He was fearless, quick, powerful and always gave 100% on every play.

Steven’s best game was in his senior year when KSC defeated the sixth ranked team, Jackson State College with the great Walter Peyton, 9-7.

Steven earned four Athletic Letters during his career and was named Co-Captain.  Steven was part of an elite group as his Offensive squad consisted of K-Club Hall of Fame members: Michael Jackson, Willie Rogers, Willie Peale Jr., Marion Quinn, Michael Beckham, Wiley Epps and Council Rudolph.  His outstanding play gave him the opportunity to tryout for the Dallas Cowboys organization.

Steven is currently residing in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He is retired from Altira – Phillip Morris USA.  He works part-time as an adjunct instructor at a local college and works as an independent adult education consultant.  He is married to Anne Baldon and has a daughter, Kimberly.

Marshall Glover Jr. (Deceased), Track – 1966 Graduate
Marshall Glover, a Chicago, Illinois (Wendell Phillips High School) native, was recruited by Coach Sam Taylor in 1962.

Marshall was an outstanding all-around sprinter during his tenure at Kentucky State College (KSC).  He ran everything between the 60 yard dash to the 440 yard dash.  At the 1964 Indoor NCAA National Championship in Detroit, MI, he placed third in the 60 yard dash, earning him All-American honors.  Winning the event was Nate Adams of Purdue University and second place went to Marshall teammate at KSC, Kenneth Cooksey.  Also, in the 440 yard dash, he qualified to participate in the Olympic trials.

In 1965, Marshall had his best season when he ran first leg of the Sprint Medley relay team that won the Championship of America race at the famous Penn Relays in Philadelphia, PA.  This was the first time in history that KSC won an event at the Penn Relay’s.  Also, Marshall was the lead off leg for the One Mile Relay school record of 3 minutes 13.2 seconds at the NACC Outdoor National Championship, earning All-American honors.

In 1966, Marshall, along with Donald Sims, Vernell Turner and Jim Kemp broke the One Mile Relay again with a time of 3 minutes 10.7 seconds at the Outdoor NCAA Nationals, earning his third All-American honors.

Marshall retired as an educator with the Cleveland school systems after 30 years of teaching Physical Education and Health.

On April 7, 2021, Marshall passed away at the age of 77.  He left behind his soul mate, Norma Fluker Thomas of Twinsburg, Ohio.

Kenneth Joiner, Football and Track and Field – 1985 Graduate
Kenneth Joiner was a two-sport athlete.  His primary sport was football, where he exceled as a wide receiver.  He played four years under Coach Larry Kirksey, earning an athletic letter each season.

In Kenneth’s senior year, he was considered one of the best receivers in the country.  Standing 5’10” tall and weighing 175 lbs., he placed in the top five on several receiving stats.  When he left KSU in 1985, history reflects that he was listed second on the All-time leading reception list, and second on the All-time punt returner (per average).

In 1984 Kenneth earned “The Best Receiver Award” and “Leading Scorer Award”, finishing the season with 42 pass receptions, for a total of 681 yards.  These numbers were crucial to Joiner’s selection to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) first team All-District.

Kenneth had several tryouts with NFL teams, however, in April 1986, he signed a two-year professional contract with the Toronto Argonauts’ of the Canadian Football League.

Kenneth was also a two-year letterman on the track team. He performed to great heights, helping KSU win several invitational track meets, including the one mile relay at the greatest track meet in North America, the Penn Relays.  In 1985, at the Penn Relays, as a member of the Division II Mile Relay team he ran an outstanding split time of 47.50 seconds.  He also recorded a 10.59 in the 100 Meters and 21.90 in the 200 Meters during the same season.

Kenneth currently resides in Buford, Georgia

Kirtice Ploucha, Volleyball and Track and Field – 2017 Graduate
Kirtrice Ploucha, a Houston, Texas (Humble High School) native, was recruited to play Volleyball by Coach Christina Coleman.

Kirtrice was an outstanding volleyball player during her entire four years at KSU.  She was selected three times as a SIAC Preseason honoree.  She didn’t disappoint, as she earned SIAC 2nd Team All-Conference in the 2014 and 2015 season.  The solid play of Kirtrice helped the volleyball team capture the SIAC Conference Championships three out of four years in 2013, 2014 and 2016.  In the 2016 SIAC Conference tournament, she led KSU in total kills.

As a freshman in the 2013 season, Kirtrice had a total of 195 Kills and score 281 points.  As a sophomore in 2014 she continued to improve as she had 239 Kills and scored 298.5 points.  In 2015, she had a career high in a single game of 18 Kills.  She led the team with 290 Kills for the season.  Her stat’s were more impressive as she lead the team with a total of 365 points during the 2015 season.  Unfortunately, during her senior year the volleyball team lost their head coach and missed half of the season but still won the SIAC Championship with a Chaperone coach.

Outside of volleyball, Kirtrice also was a member of the KSU Track & Field team as a long jumper in 2014 & 2015.  Because of her toughness and multi-talents, she was awarded in 2017 the “KSU Toughest Thorobred Award”.  She earned 4 athletic letters in Volleyball and an athletic letter in Track & Field.

Kirtrice also earned several other athletic and academic awards, starting with the K-Club’s “Lorenzo Croft Athlete of the Year” in 2015.  She received the “KSU Girls Rock Female Athlete of the Year” in 2016.   She made the KSU Academic Dean’s List in 2015, graduating from KSU with a 3.2 GPA.  She was an active club member to KSU NAACP and KSU Girls Rock.

One month after attending KSU as a freshman, Kirtrice loss her mother due to domestic violence and gun violence.  She used this unfortunate situation to motivate her to start her own fitness business while at KSU, “4upFitness”.

After graduation, she coached volleyball at St. Thomas University in 2018 and at Central State University in 2019.  Currently, Kirtrice is a Head Manager at LA Fitness in Houston, TX.  She has been a strong component of domestic violence awareness and mental health awareness, as she conducts many speaking engagements to schools and sports teams.  She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Isadore Rich, Academic Advisor
Isadore Rich is a Montgomery, Alabama native who came to KSU over 47 years ago as the Athletic Academic Advisor.  He was always assisting with the well-being of every athletes who played at KSU.  He mentored many athletes who have graduated and went on to become well accomplished alumni.  His main focus was to ensure each athlete had what was needed to ensure academic success.

During Mr. Rich’s tenure, he was the voice of every half time show during the KSU Homecoming games.  He had the ability to ignite the homecoming crowd when the mighty Thorobred Marching Band would step onto the football field.

There was one thing that Mr. Rich took much pride in doing.  Each year during the KSU Hall of Fame ceremony, he would make beautiful gift baskets for the K-Club to give to the inductees entering the KSU Hall of Fame.

Mr. Rich has been one of KSU K-Club main supporter and is one of the major reason the Hall of Fame has been able to successfully continue the award presentation ceremony.

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