Sizzlers need fans to bring the heat back to their name


Calvin Thompson isn’t just the head coach of the Topeka Sizzlers. The former University of Kansas standout wears many hats. 

“Everything that you have to do with owning a sports team, sports franchise, I have to do from scheduling practices, to finding facilities, to filling out the sponsorship levels, to making decisions to drop the ticket pricing, to player contracts,” said Thompson. “I guess you could say I have a big head for big hats.” 

He’s also the general manager and owner, and one of his goals is to get fans back in the stands. 

Thompson has a reason to have a big head when it comes to hoping the Sizzlers will have a huge turnout. 

Washburn Rural High School would be packed with up to 3,300 people every game the first time the Sizzlers played in Topeka in the 80s. The arrival of Thompson and his KU teammate Ron Kellogg at the Sizzlers brought in much of the excitement. 

“We knew we wouldn’t get there the first year but just getting back on the map, back on the scene, we hope that in year two the fan base will be back up to what it was,” said Thompson. 

And Thompson’s not the only person making a comeback.

“I was the director of the Topeka Sizzlers dance team in 1986, ’87 and ’88,” said Beverly Bernardi Post. “It brought semi-professional basketball here to the capital city in Topeka and we had a great time.”

The Sizzlers are undefeated of Sunday’s game. They beat the KC Grillerz 150 to 89 to move up to number two in league rankings. 

“This is something that Topeka really needed,” said Patrice Newton, a Sizzlers fan. “I’m really excited to be here.”

League-wide tickets are $16. But Thompson lowered the price to just $5 to bring in more fans, knowing the importance of packed stands. 

“I played not far down the road at the University of Kansas and we packed the house every night,” said Thompson. “You want that home court advantage.” 

If you would like to buy tickets for their next game, you can do so at their website here or calling them at (816) 536-HOOP. 

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