‘Champ’-ioning a cause: Adams recruits rescue dog as team pet


Courtesy of WSU Women's Basketball

Champ sits on the bench in his outfit of the game while celebrating a women’s basketball gameday.

Outside of coaching, women’s head basketball coach Keitha Adams has a passion for something cute, furry and fun-sized. Meet Champ, a dog that Adams personally adopted from the Kansas Humane Society (KHS) and named the women’s basketball team pet. 

The connection between the 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 gaming activities. 

“Back in September, we did community service,” Adams said. “Our team went and donated time to ‘Woof Fest’… We spent a day doing that and I think animals are awesome. I love dogs and it was an opportunity for us to get out in the community, meet people, have some fun with dogs and help the Humane Society.”

Following Woof Fest, Adams saw a Facebook post from the Kansas Humane Society that caught her eye. 

“Then I saw a Facebook post, a photo of these two dogs, one was named Scout, one was named Champ and they were so cute,” said Adams. “The names were fun and kind of right up basketball’s alley, they were brothers and I didn’t want to separate them but I couldn’t take on having two puppies so I called back about a week and a half later and I said ‘So did you find homes for all the puppies?’ And then she was like ‘Well, we found homes for everybody but Champ’.”

Following that phone call, Adams adopted Champ and now he is an honorary member of the women’s basketball team. 

“I grew up and I really wasn’t a dog person, but one day we were in preseason workouts, we were hearing barking and nobody else was there but our strength conditioning coach then we turned around and it was Coach Adams with a dog,” junior guard DJ McCarty said. “She said,’ Oh, this is our team dog.’”

Since adopting Champ, the members of the team truly believe he’s a part of the team. 

“I think a lot of us like dogs, and a lot of us grew up with pets so I think just having a dog around just 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 displaying Champ in Shocker gear is played during a timeout of each women’s basketball game in partnership 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 everybody can kind of relate to one of their favorite pets that they’ve had. I just think it’s a positive thing and he’s so dang cute.”

Since displaying Champ’s video, multiple pets have been adopted. 

“I know we’ve had two out of the four that were adopted and those were in the last two weeks,” Adams said. “The very first one was Tootsie Pop, and Tootsie Pop got adopted a few days after the promo was shown.”