Outside of practice, head women’s basketball coach Keitha Adams has a passion for something cute, furry, and fun-sized. She meets Champ, a dog that Adams personally adopted from the Kansas Humane Society (KHS) and named him the mascot of the women’s basketball team.
The connection between KHS and the WSU women’s basketball team began during the fall semester when the team volunteered at Woof Fest, a fundraising event with food, live music and outdoor play activities.
“In September, we did community service,” Adams said. “Our team went and donated time for ‘Woof Fest’… We spent a day doing that and I think the animals are amazing. I love dogs and it was an opportunity for us to get out into the community, meet people, have a little fun with the dogs and help the SPCA.”
After Woof Fest, Adams saw a Facebook post from the Kansas Humane Society that caught his eye.
“Then I saw a post on Facebook, a picture of these two dogs, one named Scout, the other named Champ and they were so cute,” Adams said. “The names were funny and they were in basketball alley, they were brothers and I didn’t want to break them up but I couldn’t accept having two puppies so I called back a week and a half later and said ‘So did you find homes for all the puppies? ? And then she said, ‘Well, we found homes for everyone except Champ.'”
After that phone call, Adams adopted Champ and is now an honorary member of the women’s basketball team.
“I grew up not really into dogs, but one day we were at spring training and we heard barking and there was no one there but our strength conditioning coach, then we turned around and it was Coach Adams with a dog,” said junior guard DJ McCarty. “She said, ‘Oh, this is our team dog.'”
Since they adopted Champ, the team members truly believe that he is part of the team.
“I think a lot of us like dogs, and a lot of us grew up with pets, so I think having a dog around brings a different kind of happiness to the court,” McCarty said.
Champ has also been able to add to the Shocker game day experience.
A video showing Champ wearing Shocker gear is played during a timeout of every women’s basketball game in association with the Kansas Humane Society in an attempt to get more pets adopted.
“People like a good story and a good cause,” Adams said. “I think a lot of people love animals and everyone can relate to one of their favorite pets they’ve ever had. I think it’s a positive thing and he’s so cute.”
Since Champ’s video was shown, several pets have been adopted.
“I know we’ve had two of the four that were adopted and those were in the last two weeks,” Adams said. “The first was Tootsie Pop, and Tootsie Pop was adopted a few days after the promo was shown.”