Victor Everett is part of the 2023 Pizza Hut Shocker Sports Hall of Fame induction class. The class will be inducted on Sat., Jan. 14.
In the spring of 1974, Vic Everett ran the 440-yard dash at the Kansas State Track and Field Meet at Cessna Stadium. In the north end of the stadium, a digital scoreboard mounted on a metal W, 46 feet tall, dominated the scene.
After his race, Everett saw his name on that scoreboard and started thinking about running as a Shocker.
“I was just a little kid from Topeka,” he said. “The big scoreboard, the big W scoreboard. Looking back and seeing my name, that was very exciting and amazing.”
That summer, Wichita State coach Herm Wilson recruited Everett, who finished third in the state meet in the 440 and clocked a top time of 48.9 seconds at Topeka High. His experience in Cessna Stadium stayed with him.
“To come here and see all the spectators and the stands and hear the roar of the crowd and see my name – it did something to me,” he said. “I said if I ever got the opportunity, I was going to be here.”
Everett, one of five 2023 inductees into the Pizza Hut Shocker Sports Hall of Fame, experienced much success during his time as a Shocker from 1975-78. He won three Missouri Valley Conference titles in the 400 meters and ran in the 1976 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the mile relay and 400. His time of 46.52 seconds in the 400 in 1976 remains second on the Shocker record list and he was a member of 1,600 – Meter relay teams that claim the second, third and fourth spots at Wichita State.
“Hard worker,” said David Morris, a teammate of Everett’s on relays. “He was admired by his teammates and one of the leaders on the team.”
As his track career took off, so did his social life and that set the stage for decades in Wichita and support of the university. Everett met Junetta French, a Wichita State student from East High School. Her roommates pointed her toward Vic.
“The very first thing was meeting him as a track athlete,” she said. “As an athlete, he was a standout. More than anything, he was an upstanding young man. Kind of quiet. Very focused on track, as he still is. Very intentional about what he does.”
The couple celebrated 40 years of marriage in October. Over the decades, they remained focused on Wichita State and Shocker athletics in many ways, including as board members for the Alumni Association and WSU Foundation. Vic remained involved in track and field as a USATF official and starter for Wichita State track meets.
“Where I am today, my time at Wichita State had a lot to do with that,” Vic said. “I was able to get an education and being a standout athlete gives you even more visibility. That gave me a head start.”
Their close ties with the university stems from their experiences as students.
“Wichita State helped us to thrive,” Junetta said. “We look back and say we really want others to have more of an opportunity than we did. We stay connected to Wichita State so that we can support our own community and our own culture to make them understand how important education is.”
The couple celebrated their anniversary in Florida when director of athletics Kevin Saal called Vic with news of his induction.
“I cannot ever remember seeing Vic so elated and so excited,” Junetta said. “When he got that call . . . He came in the room and said, ‘You won’t believe this, you won’t believe this.’ Almost jumping around giddy. He was elated.”