Gary Ainsworth was recently inducted into the William Jewell College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Ainsworth was a key member of some of the greatest football teams in Jewell history in the early 1980s. A four-year starter (three at linebacker), he was twice the defensive captain.
During his career he was a four-time All-Heart of America Conference and NAIA District 16 All-Star selection, including two first team honors. Additionally, he was twice named to the NAIA Division II All-America team, earning second team honors in his final season after an honorable mention nod the previous year. As a senior in the fall of 1981, he was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player by the Jewell coaching staff and All-America Honorable Mention by the Associated Press.
Over his final two seasons alone, he posted 246 tackles, 18 tackles-for-loss, three interceptions, and 10 pass breakups as the Cardinals went 21-2-1 with their only losses coming in back-to-back national semifinals. Ainsworth’s 136 tackles in 1980 is sixth in a single season at Jewell while his 110 takedowns the following year is tied for 16th. He led the Cardinals through some of the best years in program history, going 36-7-1 during his career with three conference championships, two undefeated regular seasons, one bowl game and two NAIA National Semifinal playoff appearances.