Basketball, 1956-60; Basketball, Golf and Tennis Coach, 1964-85
Inducted March 1, 1986
Springfield Central High School product Jay Kinser came to the Bears in the fall of 1956 and played for the Bruins of Coach Eddie Matthews in basketball for the next four years, lettering his last three seasons and playing in one of the great eras in SMSU cage annals. The 1958 ballclub won 22 of 24 games and posted a 9-1 MIAA record to claim the league title. The Bears won the Division II regional and reached the NCAA quarterfinals before losing to the University of South Dakota. Kinser was in the starting backcourt the following season as the Bears repeated their MIAA crown at 8-2 and lost only one other game all yearthe NCAA national championship contest to the University of Evansville as the Bruins finished with a 23-3 record. Kinser was an SMSU captain as a senior with the Bruins finishing second in the league. He gained all-MIAA second team honors as a junior and first team selection as a senior, earned a spot on the MIAA all-tournament team as a junior and was a two-time Little All-American honorable mention selection. Kinser led SMSU in field goal percentage his last two years, in free throw marksmanship his junior year and in scoring as a senior when he averaged 17.3 points a game. Kinser wound up his playing career with 784 points in 61 SMSU games and he still holds the McDonald Arena record for free throws in a game by one player with 14. It was also during the 1957-60 era that the Bears established their all-time homecourt winning streak with 41 straight wins in McDonald Arena. After his playing days, Kinser began a coaching career which brought him additional honors. He coached the SMSU tennis team from 1965 to 1970, gaining four MIAA runnerup finishes in five seasons. He coached the SMSU golf team from 1970 to 1985, coaching the Bruins to six MIAA championships and finishing lower than second place in conference competition only twice in 15 years. Kinser coached four MIAA medalists and four golf All-Americans. He also served as an assistant in basketball to Coach Bill Thomas from 1964 to 1980, during which time the Bears captured eight MIAA championships with NCAA Division II regional titles and national runnerup finishes in 1967, 1969, and 1974.