For more than a decade at basketball games in Sprint Center, Sandi Hevalow would join other security officials in red blazers and take a position on the floor during timeouts.
But few did it with her enthusiasm.
When duty called, the woman Kansas Citians came to recognize as "Red Jacket Lady" (someone even created a Twitter account in her honor) sprinted to her position on the floor with a hustle that's made her a fan favorite over the years.
At Saturday’s Big 12 men’s championship game, Hevalow took her position for the final time during a sporting event. She’s stepping away from the security life.
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The evening’s priority — helping keep Sprint Center safe — didn’t change. But there was more on Hevalow’s mind.
“I’m going to look around, take in all the wonderful memories, the faces,” Hevalow said.
Hevalow, from Kansas City, was hired before the building opened and worked its first event, an Elton John concert in October, 2007.
The Big 12 Tournament debuted at Sprint in 2008, and Hevalow’s signature style developed out of competitiveness.
“There was a guy about half my age who was on the other side of the court, running out,” Hevalow said. “I’m no spring chicken, but we had these friendly bets about who could get out there quicker. The fans seemed to love it.”
They always have. And Hevalow enjoyed hearing those cheers again while keeping her eye on the crowd — during timeouts and the action — for the final time at a basketball game.