1. The Chiefs
The Kansas City Star
Coming off a 2-14 campaign, the Chiefs fire general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel and jettison quarterback Matt Cassel ... then hire Andy Reid as coach and John Dorsey as GM and trade for a new signal-caller in Alex Smith. On Dec. 15, Jamaal Charles scores five TDs at Oakland to clinch a playoff berth and cap an amazing turnaround.
2. The Royals
The Royals finish with their best record in 10 years and play meaningful baseball well into September, with three All-Stars (outfielder Alex Gordon, reliever Greg Holland, catcher Salvy Perez) and three Gold Glove winners (first baseman Eric Hosmer, Gordon, Perez) on the 25-man roster.
3. Sporting KC
Sporting Kansas City wins the MLS title at Sporting Park in the same year that KC also hosts the MLS All-Star Game and a World Cup qualifier. It’s the second MLS championship for the franchise that rebranded itself with a new name, new uniforms and new stadium for the 2011 season.
Mizzou wins the SEC East title a year after finishing 5-7 in its first season in the nation’s top football conference.
KU basketball wins its ninth straight Big 12 title before flaming out in the Sweet 16. But the Jayhawks later land No. 1 recruit Andrew Wiggins as a consolation prize.
With the Royals mired in a seven-game losing streak, living legend George Brett returns to the dugout as an interim hitting coach 40 years after his big-league debut with the club. He stays in the role until late July.
K-State baseball wins the Big 12 title, capping a school year in which the Cats also topped the conference in football and basketball.
Concussion lawsuits converge on Kansas City and the Jovan Belcher saga takes a macabre twist on Dec. 13 with the exhumation of the former Chiefs linebacker’s body one year after he killed his girlfriend and then himself.
Andre Maloney’s on-field collapse and death from a stroke on Oct. 4 shocks his family and the Shawnee Mission West community. Just 17 and a skilled wide receiver, he’d planned to play football at Kansas next year.
It’s a stellar showing for college volleyball in the region as MU wins the school’s first SEC title in any sport and KU reaches the Sweet 16 before losing to Washington.
• Sprint Center hosts an NCAA regional, where KU beats ol’ Roy Williams, K-State loses to a Cinderella and Marshall Henderson yucks it up on the court (and in the P&L) with Ole Miss.
• KU women’s basketball team reaches the NCAA Sweet 16 for second straight year as a double-digit seed.
• Frank Haith’s drama with the NCAA finally ends with a short suspension for his role in violations at Miami.
• Emporia’s Clint Bowyer turns NASCAR on its ear when he intentionally wrecks at Richmond, leading to stiff penalties to Michael Waltrip Racing and the inclusion of a 13th driver in the Chase for the Cup.
• Northwest Missouri State wins its fourth Division II football championship.
• Former Royals broadcaster Fred White, who called games for 25 years until 1998, dies on May 15 from complications of melanoma. He was 76.
• National Women’s Soccer League debuts in Kansas City.