Jayhawks grant wish of 102-year-old fan

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KWCH) -- It took 102 years, but Hattie Long finally made it to a KU basketball game. She's a Jayhawks super fan, yet, she never thought she'd make the pilgrimage to "The Phog."

"I just liked to see them play," she said. "And by cracky, I knew every one of their names!"

But there's one name she says repeatedly: Bill, referring of course to Hall of Fame Coach Bill Self.

Self and the team sent her an autographed photo two years ago for her 100th birthday, Long's most prized possession, hung next to her family photos in her nursing home.

"Oh I felt like I was about 100 years old, then!" She joked.

Long has watched every KU game for the past 40 years on television with her grandson Dan Ravenscraft. Yet, she's never seen her "boys," as she calls them, in person.

"Watching the TV here, it looks like some of the players were just right there. I'd hollar 'shoot, by cracky!"

Saturday, she had the chance to shout at them in person, as she and Dan finally made it to the historic stadium. But she still had one more wish.

"Well, I sure would like to have Bill shake my hand and give me a pat on the back," she said. "By cracky, I might just grab him and give him a smack on the cheek!"

By cracky, Self and the Jayhawks made that wish come true.

The team welcomed Hattie and Dan into the locker room after the 87-63 win over Eastern Michigan. Self welcomed her with a hug, a kiss, and asked how the team performed.

"I said how bad were we the second half, and she said 'second half?' Which meant we really didn't play very well the first half either. I said 'Hattie, I think we played pretty good the first half!"

Self invited her for a team picture and sent her away with signatures from the entire team on her handmade poster that read "102 Years Old 1st Game at Allen Fieldhouse".

"She's real sweet and anyone who supports KU for as many years as she has, her first time in the Fieldhouse, I'm sure that was a special moment for her and she made it special for all of us too."