The HOF inductees are staying busy continuing to impact the community through various ways.
Tim Eckberg, owner of John Eck, was the recipient of the Sister Thomasine Stoecklein Spirit Award. Eckberg is a retired USD 259 elementary teacher.
His late wife, Sylvia, was a 1974 graduate in elementary education from Kansas Newman College. Eckberg enrolled in college after serving in the Army. He was on the men’s golf team and was the student sports information director 1974-76.
Eckberg has been active as a National Alumni Board Member and has served on various committees at Newman University. He is honored as a Spirit Award winner for 2023 due to his long-lasting love of the Jets, rarely missing a men’s or women’s basketball game throughout the years. He, along with previous Spirit Award winners, Kirk Lester ’74 and Fr. Tom Welk, make up the trio of ‘Super Fans’ who can be counted on to attend as many Jets competitions as their time allows. Eckberg’s favorite memory is when Newman beat Marymount College after they had won 106 straight games at their home court. Tim lives in Wichita, KS, and has two sons and three grandchildren.
Larry Inlow ’98, (men’s soccer) is the director of the Stryker Sports Complex in Wichita, Kansas, and has a 15-year career as a fire fighter, currently ranking as a captain in the City of Wichita Fire Department
Inlow was a Wichita Southeast 1993 graduate and All-State pick. He trained with the Wichita Wings and later with the KC Wizards. He was also team captain for three seasons, three-time First Team All-Conference, two-time All-Region, an All-American, NAIA defensive player of the week and earned multiple athlete of the month awards, as well as voted team MVP 1997-98.
He was drafted his collegiate senior year to play professionally with both the Wichita Wings and the San Diego Sockers. In 2011, Inlow played again for the Wichita Wings for one season and later becoming the B-52’s head coach. He then became coach and general manager of the FC Wichita Men’s team and became the director of soccer operations.
Inlow and his wife, Nikki, live in Wichita.
A four-year Jet and nursing major, Rubi Torres ’15, (women’s cross country) graduated from Great Bend High school, where she earned all-conference and all-state accolades on the track in the 1600m and 3200m runs, as well as the 4x800m relay. On the cross country course, Torres was a three-time all-conference and all-state runner. She broke the school 4K record during her career. At Newman, Torres was a four-time all-conference selection. During her career, she helped lead the lady Jets to four straight top-three finishes at the conference championships. In 2012, Torres earned Academic All-American Honors.
As a Jet, Torres ran the three fastest 5K times in school history, with a best time of 17:59 in her senior season. Torres is the first and only lady Jet to run a sub-18-minute 5K; her record still stands. She also holds the 6K school record and her 4K time ranks second on the school’s all-time list. Torres is using her nursing degree as a registered nurse at a critical access hospital in Central Kansas. She currently lives in her hometown of Great Bend, KS, with her husband, Kameron Spray, and their two children Theo and Chloe. Torres is currently pursuing her family nurse practitioner certification and expects to graduate in 2023.
A Wichita native, LeRoy Leep Jr. ’79 was an All-City performer in football, basketball, and baseball while at Wichita North High School, graduating in 1974. Leep received 1st Team All-State Honors in basketball in 1974 and went on to play the sport at Hutchinson Junior College before his two years at Kansas Newman College (KNC). Leep was instrumental in the 1977-78 Jets team that won the district title, advancing to the NAIA National Tournament.
The 1977-78 team was inducted into the Newman University Hall of Fame in 2007, but Leep is also recognized for his individual talents, especially his 32-point performance leading KNC’s victory over Marymount College in the District Final. Leep also set a KNC record with 44 straight free throws made during the 1978-79 season. Leep earned 1st Team All-District Honors in 1979. Leep graduated with a degree in accounting, worked in the public and private accounting sectors and is currently a consultant with Bombardier Aerospace. He lives in Wichita, KS, with his wife, Tina.
Mark Potter ’86 is the “winningest coach” in Newman men’s basketball program history compiling a 331-233 record in 19 seasons on the Jet bench. Potter is the longest-tenured coach in program history and shepherded the program through its restart in 1998 after an 11-year absence and its transition in 2007 from the NAIA to NCAA Division II status. He led the Jets to their final three NAIA tournament appearances and the program’s only NCAA tournament appearance after a 20-8 season in 2012-13.
Potter lettered in both baseball and basketball for the Jets averaging 15 points per game as a guard on the basketball team while being named All-District on the baseball team. The floor inside Fugate Gymnasium is named “Potter Family Court” in his honor. Potter lives in Cheney, KS, with his wife, Nanette. They both are currently traveling around the country with their company, D2UP, which is a professional speaking business dedicated to educating and supporting those who suffer in silence with depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts.
Owner John Eck, of Eck Agency Insurance, has supported the Jets for more than 20 years. Sons Michael ’03 and Bryan ’08 are both Newman graduates. Michael played basketball under Coach Potter and then later was an assistant coach on the Men’s Basketball coaching staff.
Eck and his wife, Kathy, have been supporters and major donors of events and projects, such as the Jet Open Golf tournament and the remodeling of the men’s basketball locker room, which holds their name on the doorplate. The Eck Agency is honored as a Booster in the Newman University Athletics 2023 Hall of Fame class.