Kansas City has a long and grand tradition of high school football. For more than 100 years the Metro and surrounding areas have produced some of the top teams, players and coaches.
The Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association is honoring that history with a new Hall of Fame that has begun this season. The GKCFCA Hall of Fame will honor players, coaches and contributors with a new class each year.
The Hall of Fame will have a permanent home at Arrowhead Stadium with the inductees from each year listed on a special display.
People are eligible for the Hall of Fame in four categories: Pioneer Coach, Coach, Player and Associate. Below is the first class of the GKCFCA Hall of Fame.
Ted Chittwood – Raytown High School
Chittwood was a pioneer of what many would say is the modern game of Kansas City High School Football.
He graduated from Northeast High School in Kansas City in 1939 before enlisting in the military. After the war he entered Missouri Valley College where he was a multi-sport star.
After graduation he moved to Raytown where he was hired as a teacher and head football coach in 1947. During his first 15 years his teams combined for a 113-26-10 record. When he retired in 1981 he had a 224-100-13 mark. His teams would win five conference championships from 1947-1953 and he finished with 12 conference titles. Chittwood passed away in 2001.
Al Davis – Rockhurst High School
Originally from Abilene, Kan. Davis came to Rockhurst in 1952 after graduating from Kansas State. He would coach the Hawklets until 1975.
During his time Rockhurst had a 154-66-13 record that included several Catholic League titles. The Hawklets traveled around the state to find games in the 1950s and 60s playing some of the top programs in the nation. When Missouri began its state championship tournament in 1969, Rockhurst would finish second in 1969 and 1973 and win the title in 1971.
In 1954 when traveling back from an out of town game the African-American players on the team were refused service in a restaurant. Coach Davis loaded his entire team back on the bus without any of them eating. Al Davis passed away in 2001.
Joe Mintner – Park Hill High School
Joe Mintner spent more than 40 years as a head and assistant football coach in the Kansas City Metro. He began his career in 1952 at Bishop Lillis where he spent 24 years as the head coach. He moved to Smithville high school in 1974 and then followed to Park Hill in 1976. He ended his head coaching career with the Trojans in 1992.
During his time he had an undefeated 10-0 season in 1964 and finished as the No. 1 ranked team in Kansas City. He also won numerous conference championships and helped more than 200 athletes gain college scholarships. He finished his career with a 235-93 record. Joe Mintner passed away in 2005.
Gennaro Mirocke – St. Joseph/St. Thomas Aquinas
The Pennsylvania native was a head coach at St. Joseph Shawnee and St. Thomas Aquinas from 1951-1995. During that time he amassed a 257-117-6 record that included five undefeated seasons, 14 trips to the Kansas playoffs from 1971-1990, a state championship in 1971 and a 44-quarter shutout streak in 1978.
He also coached basketball and track and developed a tradition that became known as “Bluestreak Football.” He was also the Kansas Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 1985 and the National High School Athletics Coaches Coach of the Year in 1986.
He was also a member of the American Legion, American Football Coaches Association and served as a volunteer firefighter for 24 years severing as District Chief from 1979 until his passing in 1995.
Len Mohlman – Bishop Miege High School
Mohlman started his career at Centralia, Kan. High School and went 22-2 in two seasons before moving to Bishop Miege in 1966. For the next 12 years he led the Stags to a 79-30-1 winning state titles in 1972, 1975 and 1977. Miege was also the 1974 state runner-up.
He was selected as the head coach of the Jaycee’s All-Star Game in Wichita in 1973 and was the Kansas head coach in the first Big Brothers and Big Sisters Kansas City Metro All-Star Game held in 1976 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Mohlman also served as Athletic Director at Miege from 1972-88 helping to establish the winning tradition in many other sports besides football. He currently resides in Bonner Springs.
Joe Monachino – St. Pius X High School
The New York native came to Missouri to attend Northwest Missouri State and from there became a highly successful coach. He got his first head coaching job at St. Pius X in 1966 and stayed there until 1983. He finished his head coaching career at North Kansas City.
During his time at Pius he turned the Warriors into a small-school power winning four district titles and advancing to the state championship game in 1979 and winning the title in 1981.
He was named the Western Missouri Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 1979, won the Cecil O. Patterson Coach of the Year Award in 1982 and was inducted into the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1996. He currently resides in Blue Springs.
Cecil Patterson – Kansas City Southeast
Patterson began his coaching career in the 1930s at Pleasant Hill winning three league titles. He would then go to his home town of Odessa where he won another league title before joining the Navy during World War II.
After the War Patterson established a dynasty at Southeast in the 1950s and 60s that saw his teams earn nine league titles. In 1958 his team was nationally ranked and only had one touchdown scored on it for the entire season.
Patterson was in the first class of coaches inducted into the Missouri Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1992 along with Chittwood and Jefferson City’s Pete Adkins. Patterson passed away in 1989.
Larry Taylor – Shawnee Mission North High School
Taylor served as head coach at Shawnee Mission North from 1964-1978 earning a 110-31-4 record. In all he was a teacher at North for 38 years.
As the head football coach he led his teams to six state championships (1965, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1974) and was a runner up in 1977. Once the playoff system began in 1969, his teams made the postseason seven times, including three straight from 1969-71 and four straight from 1974-77.
Taylor’s 1969 team earned a 1-0 win over Shawnee Mission South in a game where neither team scored but the winner was decided by which team had moved the ball inside its opponent’s 5-yard line the most. The game led to “Kansas rule” which was the beginning of the modern overtime system we have today. Taylor currently resides in Overland Park.
Moe Werner – Bishop Ward High School
Werner was the head coach at Bishop Ward from 1966-76 finishing with a record of 78-29-3. In his first three seasons Ward went 24-2-1 that included a 19-game winning streak.
From 1971-76 the Cyclones went to five straight playoffs, four semifinals and won two championships in 1971 and 1973. Ward also won three Kansas City, Kan. League championships in 1973, 1975 and 1976. He also coached 10 First Team All-Metro players in his time. Werner passed away in 2003.
Al Woolard – Lawrence High School
Woolard built a dynasty at Lawrence retiring in 1968 as the winningest high school football coach in the nation. At Lawrence he had a record of 153-12-5 from 1950-68 that included a 47-game winning streak.
Lawrence won 10 state championships in his time including five straight from 1956-60. He was named the national coach of the year in 1957 and 1960.
Before coming to Lawrence he coached at Edna, Commerce and Nowata, Okla. finishing with a 110-27-7 record. During his time in Commerce he coached Mickey Mantle.
Woolard also served in the Army Air Corps in World War II. He passed away in 1988.
Dave Bassore – Center/Olathe North
Bassore held many coaching positions in the Metro at both the high school and college level. He coached at Center and Olathe North along with his alma mater William Jewell College.
His impact on the sport in the Kansas City area is immeasurable. There are countless players, coaches and parents who felt the impact of his positive contribution to the sport of football.
It has been said that he was a person who coached people not football. His tragic death in a car accident in 2006 left a hole in the Kansas City coaching community. The Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association honors head and assistant coaches each year in his name.
Vic Bonuchi – Excelsior Springs High School
Bonuchi led Excelsior Springs to a 137-44-7 record in two stints as the Tigers’ head coach. He began his career in 1960 and stayed at Excelsior until 1973 when he left for his alma mater William Jewell College where he served as the defensive coordinator.
He returned to the Tigers in 1989 where the program went to another level. Excelsior Springs won two state titles in 1994 and 1996. The Tigers also had five undefeated seasons and went 43 games without a loss.
He also coached the Tigers to two state wrestling titles and the field at Excelsior Springs bears his name. Bonuchi currently resides in Excelsior Springs.
Sam Brown – Grandview/SM North/Excelsior Springs
Sam Brown has been a successful coach at every stop in his career. The Excelsior Springs native finished his career with a 176-129-1 record with stops at Grandview and Shawnee Mission North sandwiched in between stints at his alma mater.
At Grandview he led the Bulldogs to six conference titles, district titles and quarterfinal appearances in a nine-year stretch. Grandview also reached the semifinals in 1984.
At Shawnee Mission North his team won a Sunflower League title, two district titles and advanced to the quarterfinals in 2000.
Brown played his college football at the University of Missouri and was a member of the 1970 Orange Bowl team. He currently resides in Liberty.
Fred Merrell – Blue Springs/St. Mary’s/SM South
Merrell made an impact on several programs on both sides of the state line. He is a Kansas City native graduating from Paseo High School in 1951. He has been an assistant or head coach in Missouri at Liberty, Monroe City, West Plains, Blue Springs, St. Mary’s and Truman and Shawnee Mission South on the Kansas side.
His career stretched 46 years and saw his teams win nine conference titles, seven district titles and numerous other accolades including being named the Cecil Patters KC Coach of the Year in 1983, the Kansas Class 6A Coach of the Year in 1989, named to the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. Merrell currently resides in Blue Springs
Paul Monteil – O’Hara High School
Monteil was the coach at O’Hara from 1975-1994 where his team’s amassed a 144-76-1 record. In that time his teams won six West Central Conference titles, advanced to the state quarterfinals five times, semifinals three times, title game twice and winning the Class 3A state championship in 1980.
While at O’Hara he also coached baseball, basketball and golf. He was also the Celtics Athletic Director from 1975-1994. He was named the Missouri Class 3A Coach of the Year in 1980, earned the Cecil Patterson Coach of the Year Award in 1992 and entered the Missouri Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1997. The stadium at O’Hara is named for him. Monteil currently lives in Lee’s Summit.
Dick Purdy – SM West/Lawrence/Lee’s Summit
Purdy is a Metro coaching legend that led both Shawnee Mission West and Lawrence to multiple state title games and along with Lee’s Summit’s only state championship game appearance. When Purdy finished his more than four decade career in 1999 he had a career record of 270-138-5.
Purdy came to Shawnee Mission West from Chanute in 1967 and led the Vikings to championship games in 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1976 winning the title in 1972. He stepped away from high school football in 1981 to spend two years as an assistant at the University of Kansas before coming back to the prep ranks at Lee’s Summit in 1983. He then moved to Lawrence in 1990 where he led the Chesty Lions to five titles in six years from 1990-1995, including four straight.
His coaching tree is large as well as fellow GKCFCA Hall of Famers Tony Severino and Harold Wambsgans were both assistants on his staffs at Shawnee Mission West. Purdy currently resides in Arizona.
Steve Rampy – Blue Valley
When Rampy took over at Blue Valley in 1985 he began a run of excellence that continues to this day. Rampy was head coach until 2010 and in that time his teams went to eight state title games, winning the championship in 1991, 1998, 2003 and 2006. Those four championship teams combined to lose 1 game in that time.
Blue Valley also went to the championship game in 1992, 1995, 1997 and 2005. During his time the Tigers were known for their more wide-open attack at a time when most schools in the Eastern Kansas and Sunflower Leagues were known for running the ball.
Rampy is now the offensive coordinator at Pittsburg State University and helped them to a NCAA Division II National Championship in 2011. Rampy was also a founding board member of the GKCFCA. He currently resides in Pittsburg, Kan.
Gil Rector – Lexington High School
When people talk about Lexington football they talk about Gil Rector. In his 30 years leading the Minutemen, his teams won 231 games, 10 Missouri River Valley Conference Championships, 13 district championships and five state titles.
He was named the Missouri Class 2A Coach of the Year in 1976 and 1980 and the Class 3A Coach of the Year in 1994. He is in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. The football Stadium at Lexington was named Gil Rector stadium in his honor in 1997. He currently resides in Lexington.
Tony Severino – Rockhurst High School
In his nearly four decades as a head coach, Severino’s teams have won at the highest level year in and year out. He has a career record of 348-93-1 in 38 years with a record of 305-72-1 at Rockhurst.
He began his coaching career in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio before coming to Shawnee Mission West where he was an assistant football coach and head baseball coach. His first state title was a baseball title at West before he became the head coach at Shawnee Mission Northwest where he led the Cougars to their only state title in 1982.
He moved to Rockhurst in 1983 where he is still the head coach today. His teams at Rockhurst have won seven state championships and finished second three more times. He currently resides in Overland Park.
Chip Sherman – Platte County High School
Sherman helped turn Platte County into a household name in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Pirates dominated Missouri Class 3 football with three straight state titles from 2000-2002. Along the way that team had a 52-game winning streak and was one of the most dominant teams in the Metro.
He finished at Platte County with a 197-33 record before moving to the Kansas side where he has coached at Salina South, Shawnee Mission East and currently at Olathe Northwest. He currently has a career record of 241-57.
Sherman has been named Coach of the Year by several entities and is a past president of the GKCFCA. He currently resides in Parkville.
Harold Wambsgans – SM West/Lee’s Summit/LS North
Wambsgans has been a part of high school football in the Metro since the 1960s. He has served as head coach at Shawnee Mission East, Shawnee Mission West, Lee’s Summit and Lee’s Summit North.
In his time at West his teams won five Sunflower League titles, went to the playoffs seven times, played for a state championship twice, winning the Kansas 6A title in 1985. That title was the last by a Shawnee Mission School until Shawnee Mission West won it in 2012.
He began the program at Lee’s Summit North winning a conference title in its fourth season. Since retiring after the 2008 season, he is still a part of Metro Football as the co-host of PrepsKC’s Football Friday Night radio show. He currently resides in Lee’s Summit.
Bud Wheeler – Olathe North/Olathe South
Wheeler was the football coach at Olathe High School starting in 1975 and is widely credited with turning the town into a football power. When Olathe South opened in 1981 he became the school’s first head coach and held that position until 1995.
Gene Wier and Jeff Meyers were on his staff during his time as a head coach. Wier would follow Wheeler and lead Olathe North to six state titles. Meyers just finished a successful two decade run at Olathe East that saw the Hawks in the playoffs for 13 straight seasons.
Wheeler’s teams won eight EKL titles and one Sunflower League title. Wheeler passed away in 2008.
Gene Wier – Olathe North
Wier helped turn Olathe North into the dominant program in the state of Kansas in the 1990s. During his time as head coach his team won six state titles, with five of those finishing undefeated.
He was the head coach at Olathe North from 1981-2003 and then again from 2012-2014. During his time his teams finished with a 210-48 record. His teams at Olathe North have a 38-game winning streak to its credit along with a 19-game playoff winning streak. The Eagles won 11 district titles, six EKL titles and nine Sunflower League titles.
He was also the head coach at Richlands, Texas from 2003-2012 where his teams went to the postseason three times and won the Texas 7-on-7 title in 2009. He currently is the Director of High School Relations for the University of Kansas football program and lives in Olathe.
Bruce Young – Raymore-Peculiar
Young has been a football coach for more than 40 years with stops at Norborne, Marceline and Raymore-Peculiar in Missouri. He led Norborne to the semifinals and Marceline to the state championship game. At Raymore-Peculiar he helped turn the Panthers into one of the most successful programs in Metro.
His influence is as strong off the field as it is on it. While at Raymore-Peculiar he was a founding board member of the GKCFCA, helped start the Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game in 1992 and the GKCFCA Scholar Athlete program. Young has influenced more than 100 former players to remain in football as coaches including current Raymore-Peculiar Head Coach Tom Kruse and Fort Osage Head Coach Ryan Schartz.
Maas may be known to most as a former star defensive lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1980s and 90s. During that time he also held football camps that featured some of the top high school coaches in the Metro. During one of those camps the discussion came for the need of a Kansas City coaches association.
Maas was instrumental in the founding and in fact donated the original seed money to start the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association. Simply, put without his interest, there would not be a GKCFCA.
In his post football career he is now the Director of Real Estate Services for Block and Company. He also does NFL analysis for 610 Sports and Time Warner Cable Sportschannel. Maas resides in Lee’s Summit.
Darren Sproles – Olathe North
Sproles is one of the most prolific high school players in the history of Kansas City. He ran for 2,031 yards as a junior and 2,485 yards and 49 touchdowns as a senior leading Olathe North to the state title in 2000. He won the Thomas Simone Award his senior year as the most outstanding football player in the Kansas City Metro.
He would go on to Kansas State where he would finish with 4,979 yards and 45 TDs. His senior year he finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Sproles has spent the last decade in the NFL playing for the San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles. He holds the NFL record for most all-purpose yards in a season with 2,696 in 2011. Sproles currently resides in San Diego.
Bill Cox – St. Mary’s/Fort Osage/Pleasant Hill
A Kansas City native, Cox attended Glennon High School where he graduated in 1960. He attended the University of Central Missouri before starting a coaching career that has lasted 39 years.
Cox has coached all over the Kansas City Metro at schools of every size. He has been a head coach for 28 of those years with stops at St. Mary’s in Independence, Mo., Fort Osage and Pleasant Hill. At St. Mary’s he led the school to its only football state championship in 1972. He was also an assistant coach at Lillis, Southwest, Park Hill, Oak Grove, Grandview and Blue Valley North.
He finished with a 141-129-2 record that included the state championship, two conference championships and two district championships. He also coached four players who went on to the NFL.
Cox has been married to his wife Janice for 50 years and has five children and nine grandchildren. Cox currently lives in Blue Springs.
Jerry Crews – Oak Park
Crews was born in Odessa and graduated from the high school in 1954. From there he attended the University of Central Missouri where he graduated in 1958.
He began his coaching career at Maple Park Junior High in 1962 before moving to Oak Park in 1965. He served as an assistant until 1971 when he took over the program as the head coach. Crews led the Northmen until 1985 and his teams compiled an 84-57 record that featured seven conference championships, two district championships, two undefeated regular seasons and two appearances in the state semifinals. He was named the Missouri Class 4 coach of the year in 1975.
Crews coached a variety of sports over a 54-year period including track and golf. He also served as Oak Park’s Athletic Director for 16 years.
He currently resides in Kansas City with his wife.
Jerry Culver – De LaSalle/Rockhurst/Center
Culver coached for several decades at several schools in the Metro. He led the very successful De LaSalle program in the 1950s and 60s and was the head coach at Rockhurst and Center.
During his time at De LaSalle the program was legendary for beating power schools like Rockhurst, North Kansas City, Raytown, Bishop Ward, Westport and Bishop Miege. De LaSalle took on all comers in an era where there were no state championships to win.
Culver coached at Rockhurst from 1976-1982 where he finished with a 63-16 record that included a Missouri Class 4A state championship in 1981 and a Class 5A second-place finish in 1982.
John Davis – Shawnee Mission South
Davis was the first coach at Shawnee Mission South and spent 20 years at the school. From 1966-85 He led the Raiders to 18 winning seasons, seven Sunflower League titles and state Championships in 1973 and 1975.
South was dominant in the stretch from 1971-1978 winning five undefeated league titles. The Raiders were 29-0 in their conference and 56-8 in regular season during 1971-3, 1975 and 1978.
He continued teaching until 1994 when he retired. Davis passed away in 2010.
Bill Freeman – Lawrence
One of the most decorated coaches in Kansas Football history, Freeman coached at six high schools winning six state titles.
A native Burlington, Kan. he started his coaching career in 1953 at Baxter Springs High School. From there he moved to Parker Rural, Nickerson and Le Roy. At Le Roy High School his 8-man teams had a 33-11-1 record from 1960-64 and were ranked as the consensus No. 1 in 1962.
In 1965 he moved to Osawatomie where his team received another consensus No. 1 ranking in 1966 and a Class 3A state championship in 1973.
His 1974 he took over the storied program at Lawrence and continued their winning tradition. Freeman led the Chesty Lions from 1974-89 winning five Kansas Class 6A championships. He compiled a 134-38 record at Lawrence and a 242-81-3 mark for his career.
Freeman also coached Lawrence to two track and field titles while he was at the school. After retiring from teaching he moved Le Roy where he owned a bank and was also the town’s mayor. Freeman passed away in 2015 at the age of 84.
Gerald Partridge – Ruskin
An Arkansas native, Partridge began his coaching career at Warrensburg in 1961. In 1965 he moved to Ruskin where he was the head coach until 1993.
During his time at Ruskin the Eagles won four conference championships and made several state playoff appearances including a run to the 1991 Missouri Class 4A quarterfinals.
Partridge finished as the longest tenured coach in Suburban Conference History and No. 3 in all-time conference wins. He also coached 123 all-conference players while at Ruskin. In 1988 he was named the Cecil Patterson Coach of the Year in the Kansas City Metro.
He finished his career with a 168-152-8 record. He currently resides in Grandview.
Harold Reade – Shawnee Mission
Born just after the turn of the 20th century Reade came from Moran, Kan. to coach at Shawnee Mission High school during the 1930s.
Reade took over both the football and basketball programs at was then the only high school in the Shawnee Mission School District. He coached both sports from 1934-55. In football he amassed a 110-38-11 record winning eight Northeast Kansas championships and one Sunflower League title.
In basketball he led his team to a 235-76 mark that included nine Northeast Kansas championships and two Kansas Class 2A state titles.
Reade passed away in 1974.
Bill Robinson – Southwest
After graduating from the University of Iowa, Bill Robinson began his career by coaching 6-man football, track, girls and boys basketball, and baseball.
From 1957-1979 he led the football program at Southwest High School to an overall record of 129-65-18; which included 10 league championships, an undefeated season in 1968, and a state championship in 1972. He received the Cecil Patterson Award in 1977 and the Knute Rockne Award in 1966 and 1972. He was awarded Interscholastic Coach of the Year five times, and numerous Coach of the Year awards from city, philanthropic, and local media organizations. He was inducted into the Missouri Coaches Hall of Fame in 1992.
As a toddler, his right arm was permanently paralyzed by polio. He never played a single down of football, but he had a deep understanding and love of the game, and his calm nature brought out the best in his players.
Bill Robinson passed away in 1999.
Merl Venable – Baldwin/ Turner
Venable came to Kansas from his native Oklahoma in the 1950s to attend Emporia State. After graduation he started his coaching career in 1960 with stops at Independence, Kan. Junior College and Carbondale and Chickasha High Schools in Okla.
In 1966 he took over the football and track program at Baldwin. During that time he won 75 percent of his games including a state championship in 1982 and a No. 1 state ranking in 1968 the year before the state playoff system began. Baldwin also finished as state runner-ups in 1971 and 1978 and was in the postseason numerous times during his tenure. After leaving Baldwin he moved to Turner from 1987-92.
He was named the Kansas Coach of the Year in 1982. Venable passed away in 2012.
Paul Brown – Blue Valley
Brown is a Kansas City native who graduated from Olathe High School in 1973. He has been coaching since 1976 and has made a huge impact at several programs across the Metro.
His coaching career began as a student assistant at his alma mater Emporia State University. After spending time at Ferris State University he was named the head coach at Turner high school in 1981.
In 1984 he moved to Bishop Miege where his teams won four EKL championships and made seven playoff appearances. The Stags would make it to the semifinals three times and finish with one undefeated season. During his 15 seasons at Miege Brown was named the 1987 EKL Coach of the Year and the head coach of the 1994 Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game.
In 1999 he moved to Basehor-Linwood where his teams would win two Kaw Valley League titles and make two playoff appearances during his tenure.
Since 2004 he has been an assistant at Blue Valley. He has been a part of 10 playoffs teams that advanced to the state championship game five times winning three titles.
Brown is a one of the founders and a past president of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association. He is still an integral part of the success of this organization to this day.
Rick Byers – St. Pius X
Byers has been one of the top coaches in the Metro for more than two decades. He began his coaching career at Fort Scott, Kan. High School before moving to St. Pius X in 1987 as an assistant.
In 1995 Byers took over the Warriors and led his teams to 10 district titles, four state championship game appearances and three state titles. St. Pius X won the Missouri Class 2 State Championship in 1998, 2000 and 2002 finishing second in 1999. He has also won several conference titles over this time.
Byers was named the 2001 Cecil Patterson Coach of the Year, the 1999 Kansas City Star Coach of the Year, the 1999 Kansas City Chiefs Coach of the Year and the Missouri Class 2 Coach of the Year in 1998 and 2000.
Byers is currently the head coach and athletic director at Pius and resides in Olathe.
Greg Oder – Blue Springs South
The Milan Missouri native began his coaching career as an assistant at Kirksville High School in 1986. From there he moved to Plattsburg and Blue Springs South where he helped turn the Jaguars into a Missouri state power.
His first head coaching position came at Plattsburg where he had a 27-8 record in three seasons. From there he moved to Blue Springs South when the school opened in 1992 as the defensive coordinator. In that position under first Dave Ross and then Buddy Young Oder helped the program reach a 69-30 mark including an appearance in the 1995 Missouri Class 5A state Championship game.
In 2001 he was named the Jaguars’ head coach. In the next 16 seasons Blue Springs South would earn four conference titles, four district titles, advanced to the Missouri Class 6 championship game four times and win three state titles.
Oder led his team to titles in 2006, 2011 and 2015. His final season saw the Jaguars go 13-0 to with the Missouri Class 6 title. He finished his coaching career with a 148-55 record.
He retired from teaching and coaching this past May and currently resides in Parkville.
Forrest Rovello – Grain Valley
The Kansas City native spent four decades involved in high school football in the Metro.
Rovello began his coaching career at Sherwood High School in Sherwood, Mo. as an assistant in 1983 before becoming the head coach in 1989. The next year he moved to Southwest High School in Kansas City where he was the defensive coordinator.
In 1993 he took over a Grain Valley program that had struggled to find wins for almost a decade. He would build the Eagles into a consistent winner going 133-64 in 18 seasons. Over that span Grain Valley would win nine conference titles, make eight playoff appearances and three trips to the state semifinals in two different classes. Rapid growth at the school meant the Eagles would grow from Class 2 in 2000 to Class 4 by 2009 and Grain Valley made the playoffs five times during that time.
Rovello has been named The Examiner Coach of the Year three times, the KMZU coach of the Year and the Kansas City Chiefs Coach of the Week three times.
He finished his career as an assistant at St. Mary’s and Lone Jack before retiring in 2012. He currently resides in Blue Springs.
Dan Stanley – Westport/Winnetonka/University Academy
Stanley was born in Kansas City and has spent the last 50 plus years working in high school and college football in the Metro.
A Southeast High School graduate he went to Missouri Valley College where he graduated in 1959. From there his coaching career began as an assistant at William Chrisman and Kansas City Central before being named the head coach at Westport High School in 1964.
In 1969 he moved to Winnetonka High School as the school’s first head football coach. During his time there he won five Suburban Conference titles and one district title.
From there he moved to William Jewell College as an assistant and then to his alma mater Missouri Valley as the head coach. After leaving Missouri Valley in 2002 he served as an assistant coach at Shawnee Mission North and Pembroke Hill.
Stanley had two more stints as a head coach. He returned to Westport earning a playoff win in 2009 and then at University Academy winning a district title. He coached until 2014 as an assistant at Lincoln Prep.
Stanley has been a part of 11 programs and influenced countless players and coaches during his time. He currently resides in Kansas City.
Steve Szcygiel – Schlagle
The Kansas City, Kan. native has been a head coach at Schlagle and an assistant at Olathe North and Shawnee Mission West where he is still on staff.
At Schlagle Szcygiel went 97-65 from 1992-2008 and won 10 league championships and four district titles to go along with four state playoff appearances.
He was an assistant at Olathe North from 2009-10 and helped the Eagles to a Kansas Class 6A state title in 2009 and a second-place finish in 2010. Since 2011 he has been an assistant at Shawnee Mission West helping the Vikings to the Kansas Class 6A championship in 2012.
Szcygiel is a long-time member of the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association severing on the board from 2000-2008. He has also been a member of the Kansas All-Star coaching staff in 1993, 1995, 1999 and 2003.
He currently resides in Olathe.
Bob Tavernaro – Bishop Miege
Tavernaro is a longtime member of the Kansas City football community going back to his days as a player at De LaSalle High School where he graduated in 1960.
After graduating from the University of Central Missouri he began his coaching career 1966 as an assistant at Southwest High School. From there he was named the head coach at Grandview in 1969 where he was the head coach at Grandview for 10 seasons. During that time his teams won five conference championships.
In 1979 he moved to Bishop Miege where he led the Stags for five seasons. In that time his teams won three league titles, two district championships and finished second in the state in 1982.
In the last three decades Tavernaro has been the head coach for the Kansas City Marine Corps Football team and been an assistant coach at Blue Valley North, Shawnee Mission Northwest, Raytown South, Blue Springs, Raytown and Bishop Miege where he is currently on staff. During his time as an assistant his teams have won four state titles and numerous league and district championships.
During his career he has earned four conference coach of the year awards, been a head coach and assistant coach in several all-star games. Tavernaro has been a coach for 46 years and been a part of 38 teams that finished with a winning season.
He currently resides in Kansas City.
John McCarthy was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1951. He graduated from Cathedral Latin High School and subsequently attended Kansas State University. While working on his business degree, he was involved in many campus activities including starting as a wide receiver on the schools’ nationally ranked football team. During his stay at KSU, he met his wife, Nancy, from Kansas City. They have been married since 1972.
The McCarthy Auto Group has been successfully operating franchised dealerships in Kansas City since 1981. In that time, it has consistently been a leader in volume, customer service and profitability. Key to its success is a commitment to the communities in which it serves. The McCarthy Auto Group participates in local city governments, sits on boards of country clubs and local charities, hosts chamber of commerce events, actively fundraises for community events and provides leadership on statewide automobile industry committees.
McCarthy’s commitment has been shown in his support for the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association Scholar Athlete Program. The program used to honor 22 athletes with only two each receiving $1,000 scholarships. Nine years ago McCarthy stepped in and funded 22 $1,000 scholarships every year since. His support of the GKCFCA, football and high school sports in general can be seen all over the Metro.
Russ Washington – Southeast/MU/San Diego Chargers
Washington was one of the best football players ever to come out of the Kansas City Metro. He was a 1964 graduate of Southeast High School where he was one of the most feared linemen on both sides of the state line.
He played college football at the University of Missouri where he was named the Big Eight Conference defensive player of the year and first-team All-American in 1967.
Washington was drafted fourth overall in the 1968 AFL/NFL Common Draft by the San Diego Chargers. He played 15 seasons for the Chargers on the offensive line. He was named to the NFL Pro Bowl five times while earning second-team All-Pro honors twice in 1979 and 1982.
He is a member of the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame and currently resides in San Diego.
Rob Bowers – Richmond/Cameron/Plattsburg
A native of Hamilton Missouri he graduated from Penney High School before attending William Jewell College. He started his coaching career in 1980 as an assistant at Plattsburg before moving on to Sam Houston State where he was a graduate assistant.
Bowers head coaching career started in 1984 at Work County followed by Albany and then to his first stint at Richmond starting at 1992. He was at Richmond for six years before going to Cameron for three seasons. He returned to Richmond in 2001 where he continues coaching today.
Over his career his teams have won seven conference titles, nine district championships, advanced to the quarterfinals seven times, the semifinals three times and won the 2010 Missouri Class 3 state championship. Bowers has a career 197-145 record including a 114-64 mark at Richmond starting in 2001.
He has also been named the Missouri football coaches association coach of the year, the KMZU coach of the year six times and is a member of the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Brad Gaines – Oak Grove/Orrick
A graduate of Orrick High School, Gaines returned to his alma mater after graduating from the University of Central Missouri in 1974 and was named head coach in his first year of teaching. He led Orrick to three conference titles, two semifinal appearances and a Missouri Class 1 state championship in 1975.
In 1981 Gaines moved to Oak Grove as an assistant coach before being named the head coach in 1985. For more than two decades Gaines led the Panthers to seven conference titles, 10 district championships, three quarterfinal appearances, 3 semifinal appearances and two state championships games.
After leaving Oak Grove he has served as an assistant coach at Avila University and currently at Raymore-Peculiar.
Gaines has been named the Kansas City Chiefs Coach of the week four times and has been inducted into the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He has also had an outstanding career as a basketball coaching leading Oak Grove to the 1992 Missouri Class 3 girls state championship.
Richard Gleichman – Sumner Academy
The Kansas City, Kansas native graduated Washington High School. After graduating from the University of Kansas in 1971 he began his coaching and teaching career back in KCK at Argentine High School. Gleichman served as an assistant football coach at Argentine and then Harmon before moving to Sumner in 1980.
After one year as an assistant coach at Sumner he was named the head coach. He held that position from 1981-2005. He then returned to the Sumner staff in 2007 serving as the defensive coordinator until 2013.
His teams won two district titles and two conference championships during his time. Coach Gleichman led Sumner for 24 seasons and in that time 64 players received scholarships to play college football. He also coached in a Kansas Shrine Game, a Big Brothers/Big Sisters All-Star Game and a GKCFCA Kansas vs. Missouri all star game.
Steve Harms – Blue Valley Northwest/Washington
Harms was born in Hastings, Neb. where he graduated from Hastings High School before attending Hastings College where he graduated in 1978.
He began his coaching career at West Junior High School in the Kansas City, Kansas school district coaching football, basketball and track. In 1981 he became a varsity assistant coach at Washington High School and then became the head coach in 1985.
In 1993 he opened Blue Valley Northwest High School as the first head coach in school history. Harms held this position until 2001 when he became the Activities Director.
During his career he earned a 73-50 record that included seven conference titles, six district titles and three regional titles. He was twice named the KCK coach of the year and twice named the EKL coach of the year. His teams were ranked in the top 5 in Kansas four times and in the top 10 of the Kansas City Metro four times. He is also a member of the Blue Valley Northwest Athletic Hall of Fame.
Bruce Johnson – Raytown South
Johnson came to Raytown South in 1961 after graduating from the University of Central Missouri. The Leavenworth native began his career as an assistant football and track coach before becoming the Cardinals head coach in 1974.
Johnson was the head coach until 1991 leading Raytown South to a 100-86-1 record in that time. That included two state semifinals, three quarterfinals, five conference championships, four district championships and two undefeated regular seasons.
He finished his coaching career in the college ranks serving as an assistant coach at Mid America Nazarene University from 1992-2005.
Johnson won the Cecil Patterson coach year in 1980 and is a member of the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Mark Littrell – Olathe South/Leavenworth
Littrell graduated from Smithville High School in 1971 before attending Truman State University where he graduated in 1976. His first coaching job was as an assistant at St. Joseph Benton High School where he coached football, wrestling and track.
In 1982 Littrell moved across the state line to Olathe where he was named the head wrestling coach and was an assistant on the football team.
Littrell took over the Falcons program in 1998 and led it to a 76-32 record. In that time the Falcons won four district titles, four regional championships, three sectional championships and was runner-up to the state champion three times.
After returning to the Metro in 2013 Littrell took over the program at Leavenworth. In 2014 the Pioneers won the district and regional titles for the first time in school history.
Littrell has been named a Chiefs coach of the week eight times, Chiefs coach of the year twice and the Sunflower League coach of the year once. He has also honored with the GKCFCA Dave Bassore Man of the Year Award in 2008 and 2014.
The last 40 years has seen Littrell as a pillar of the coaching community. As one of the founding members of the GKCFCA he has been a member of the executive board and a past president. He has also coached in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters All-Star Game and the GKCFCA Kansas vs. Missouri All Star Game.
Jeff Meyers – Olathe East
An Olathe native, Meyers returned to the district after graduating from Kansas State University in 1981. He spent 31 of the next 32 years in the district as an assistant at Olathe North.
In 1991 he became the first head coach at the new Olathe East High School. Over the next 23 years he led the Hawks to a 163-74 record that included six conference championships, seven district titles, 17 trips to the playoffs and one trip to the Kansas 6A title game.
He currently is an assistant at William Chrisman High School and helped lead that program to its best regular season record in school history in 2016.
Meyers has also been a member of the GKCFCA executive board and was named the Chiefs Coach of the Year in 2002. He also served as the mayor of Shawnee, Kansas from 2003-2014.
Greg Reynolds – Park Hill
Reynolds graduated Oak Park High School in 1983 and then moved on to the University of Central Missouri where he graduated in 1987. He began his coaching career at Belton in 1990. Reynolds moved to North Kansas City in 1995 before landing at Park Hill in 1998.
Reynolds was named the head coach for the Trojans in 2000 and led the team to a 104-44 record in 13 seasons. During that time Park Hill won six conference titles, nine district championships, advanced to the quarterfinals six times and won the Missouri Class 5 state title in 2003. He returned to the program as an assistant coach in 2015.
During Reynolds career he was named the Missouri Class 5 Coach of the Year, served on the GKCFCA executive board for eight years and was the president of the association for two years.
Brad Budde – Rockhurst/University of Southern California/Kansas City Chiefs
Budde was a star at Rockhurst High School before continuing his career at the University of Southern California from 1976-1979. He was then drafted in the first round by the Chiefs in 1980 and played for his hometown team until 1986 starting 72 of the 96 games he played in the NFL.
During his college career he helped the Trojans to the 1978 national championship. Budde also won the Lombardi award in 1979 and was a unanimous All-American that same year. In 1999 he was inducted to the USC Hall of Fame. In 2010 he was inducted to the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame and in 2015 he was named to the PAC-12 All Century Football Team.
Budde is a physical therapist and currently lives in California.
John Kane – Central States Beverage
Kane has been the Vice President/General Manager of Central States Beverage since 1992. Since 2007 Kane and Central States has hosted the monthly GKCFCA clinics at no charge to their facility.
During the last 10 years the GKCFCA has seen marked growth and the ability to have meetings and clinics for its members in a central consistent location has been a big part of that growth. Kane is a fixture at these meetings and puts in his own time to make sure the GKCFCA has a great environment for coaches to learn, grow and share fellowship in the profession they love.
Kane’s son Kevin was a star at Rockhurst and Kansas and is currently the defensive coordinator at Northern Illinois University.
Troy Hodges – Harmon
Hodges was born in Lebo, Kansas in 1945 and attended Lebo schools before moving on to Emporia State University.
He began his teaching and coaching career at Osawatomie before moving to Harmon. At Harmon he was the head football and wrestling coach from 1977-2002. His team’s won nine conference titles and qualified for the state playoffs once in his tenure. Hodges was named the Cecil Patterson Kansas City Metro Football Coach of the Year in 2000.
As a wrestling coach his team’s won 12 league titles and 29 tournament championships. Hodges was instrumental in promoting the sport helping to organize the Metro Classic All-Star Wrestling Dual. He is a member of the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame.
Hodges is also a member of the Harmon High Schools Sports Hall of Fame and the Kansas State High School Activities Association Hall of Fame.
Hodges passes away in 2011 but a scholarship fun in his name has raised thousands of dollars for Harmon students.
Laurel Hobick – Truman/Cass-Midway/Piper
Hobick was born in Danville, Illinois in 1932 and graduated from Oakwood Township High School in Illinois in 1950. He attended college at William Jewell and served in the United States Marine Corps before returning to Oakwood Township to teach and coach in 1957.
He was the head football coach at Oakwood for three years before moving on to Kofa High School in Yuma, Arizona in 1961.
Hobick returned to the Metro as the first head football and wrestling coach at Truman High School in Independence when it opened in the fall of 1964. During his time at Truman, he was named The Independence Examiner Coach of the Year in 1967.
From there he moved on to Cass-Midway High School. Hobick led the Vikings to state championships in 1976 and 1978 with the 1976 team finishing a perfect 13-0. Cass-Midway won six Western Missouri Conference championships during his nine-years with the program.
Hobick closed out his coaching career at Piper. The Pirates won four Kaw Valley League titles and two district titles. He was named The Kansan Coach of the Year in 1993 and the Cecil Patterson Kansas City Metro Coach of the Year in 1997. He finished his coaching career with a record of 234-192.
He is a member of the William Jewell Football Hall of Fame. Hobick passed away in 2017 at the age of 84.
Gary O’Neal – Hardin Central
O’Neal was born in 1952 in Marshall, Missouri where he grew up and graduated high school in 1970. He then attended the University of Missouri where he graduated in 1974.
In the fall of 1974 O’Neal began his coaching and teaching career at Hardin Central High School. He served as an assistant coach for two seasons before taking over head coaching duties in 1976.
The next 28 seasons saw Hardin Central turn into a small school power. As one of the smallest schools in Class 1 the Bulldogs were one of the winningest programs.
Hardin Central finished with 10 undefeated regular season, 16 conference championships, 12 district titles, six trips to the Class 1 semifinals, four appearances in the Show-Me Bowl and state titles in 1980 and 1987.
O’Neal finished his coaching career in 2003 with a record of 239-52-1 in 28 seasons which ranks No. 1 all time in Class 1. During that span he was named the Missouri coach of the year three times. O’Neal is a member of the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
He currently resides in Farley, Missouri.
Kyle Roach – Pleasant Hill
Roach was born in Nebraska City, Nebraska in 1963 before moving to Lexington, Missouri. He graduated from Lexington High School in 1981 and then graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 1985.
He began his teaching and coaching career at Wellington-Napoleon High School in 1986 as the head football coach. During his time at Wellington-Napoleon his teams went 40-29. In 1994 he moved to Mountain Grove where he was the head football coach until 1999.
Roach returned to the Metro in 1999 to take over the program at Pleasant Hill. During his time there, the Roosters went 93-80 and were one of the most consistent Missouri Class 3 teams in the Metro. He finished his career as an assistant at Oak Park the last three seasons.
During his coaching career Roach’s teams made the playoffs nine times, won four conference championships and five district titles. Roach also led his teams to the state quarterfinals three times. He was also the Missouri coach of the 2007 GKCFCA Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game.
Roach not only made his mark on the field. He has been an active member of the GKCFCA during his career. He has been a board member since 2005 and was President in 2011-12. He continues working for with the GKCFCA even today. Roach is also a member of the Missouri Football Coaches’ Hall of Fame.
Kyle and his wife live in Pleasant Hill.
Keith Ross – Oak Park/Winnetonka/Orrick
Ross was the head coach at Oak Park from 1984-2011 and began his career in North Kansas City Schools in 1979. He attended William Jewell College and finished his undergraduate work in three years. He would later earn a master’s degree in administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
In the fall of 1979, he was a student teacher and an assistant football coach at Winnetonka High School, and later that semester was offered a teaching contract with a spot on the coaching staff.
Ross later was head baseball coach at Winnetonka from 1982 through the spring of 1985, during which time Winnetonka won its conference and two district titles before clinching state in 1985.
By the fall of 1985, Ross became the head coach at Oak Park High He finished with a record of 184 wins and 107 losses, three conference titles, 12 district titles, and second at state —losing to Hazelwood Central 21-20 in the 1996 5A title game.
In his 32½ years with the district, he coached all 32, while serving 31 as head coach. In addition to teaching, and coaching baseball and football at Winnetonka, he coached basketball there for six years. At Oak Park he also coached basketball for a couple years in addition to football and baseball. During his tenure at Oak Park, he was the athletic director for 15 years and assistant principal for 12.
In recognition of his outstanding career accomplishments, Ross was named to the Missouri Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2007.
Glenn Percy – Shawnee Mission East
Percy was born in 1928 in Carlyle, Kansas. He graduated from Iola High School in 1946 and worked various jobs before a career in the Navy that lasted until 1952 when he finished his undergraduate college education at Washburn University.
After Washburn, Percy embarked on a teaching and coaching career that included nine high schools and two colleges spanning 48 years. His stops included Pleasanton, Kingman, Ponca City, Coffeyville, Hutchinson, Shawnee Mission East, Wichita West, Iola, Yates Center, Hutchinson Community College and Ottawa University.
He won league titles at Coffeyville and Hutchinson High School. Percy was named the Cecil Patterson Kansas City Metro Coach of the Year and Chiefs Coach of the Year while at East.
Percy also served as head coach in the Kansas Shrine Bowl, the Kansas City Big Brothers and Big Sisters All Star Game and the KC Metro Dream Classic. He is also a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Percy passed away in 2014.
The Simone Family
The Simone Family has been a part of high school football in the Metro for more than 35 years. Their work began after the tragic death of their 12-year old son Tommy who was killed by a police patrol wagon in 1983.
Tommy’s death motivated the family to give back to the community in honor of their son’s short but remarkable life. Tommy influenced those around him from teammates to coaches and the family wanted to share his life through charitable acts.
In the fall of 1983 the Simone’s began the Thomas A. Simone Memorial Football Award to be presented annually to the most outstanding high school football player in the Kansas City Metro. It was a continuation of the Dr. D.M. Nigro Award that was given out from 1931 until Dr. Nigro’s death in 1976.
The one award has grown into five and the annual event is the most prestigious football awards in the Metro.
The family has raised thousands of dollars for area charities through its Simone-Fontana Foundation and continue their work today.
Don Davis – Olathe South/Kansas/New Orleans Saints/Tampa Bay Buccaneers/St. Louis Rams/New England Patriots
Davis was born in Olathe in 1972 and graduated from Olathe South in 1990 where he earned All-Sunflower League and All-Metro honors as well as being a team captain for the Falcons.
He moved on to the University of Kansas where he played for four years and was a starter for the final three years of his career. He averaged 79 tackles a game his junior and senior seasons and finished his career with 238 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.
After Kansas Davis went undrafted but that didn’t stop him from having a long NFL career. He began as an undrafted free agent with the Saints in 1996. He spent two seasons in New Orleans before being traded to Tampa Bay. While with the Buccaneers he would play in all 16 games in 2000. From there he went to St. Louis for two years before joining the Patriots where he would win two Super Bowl rings.
His career ended after the 2005 season and he moved into coaching with the Patriots before stepping out of football for a while.
Davis currently works for the NFL Players Association and lives in Washington, D.C.
Don Cobb – KC Southwest/KC Northeast
Don Cobb began his high school coaching career in 1962 as an assistant at Southwest High School. He would begin his head coaching career at his alma mater, Northeast High in 1966. As a player for the Vikings, Don earned All-City honors and played in the 1956 Interscholastic League All-Star game.
Coach Cobb moved to North Kansas City in 1971 as an assistant coach then took the reins as the head coach from 1974-1982. In his final season, Coach Cobb led Northtown to an undefeated league championship garnering Coach of the Year honors along the way.
Former player Richard Easley points to the lessons he learned under Coach Cobb as vital to his future career in law enforcement which saw him serve at the Chief of Police for the Kansas City Police Department. “Teamwork, discipline, commitment, hard work, and maintaining composure are just a few of the traits Coach Cobb taught us on the field and in the classroom. He is a one of a kind individual and coach that stands for what is right in the world we live today.”
Throughout his career Coach Cobb made an effort to have an impact on his players’ life beyond the game. In addition to teaching, Don also helped students with college counseling duties and he was an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Since retirement Coach Cobb has volunteered at local elementary schools and has worked with Meals on Wheels.
Bishop Miege President and former player Dr. Joe Passantino maintains that Coach Cobb’s influence on his life helped to carry him through his own 45-year career in education. “All of us who played for him understood that the most endearing life lessons to be passed on to us came from him teaching us how to deal with obstacles and adversity- things he taught so well.”
Lee Flappan – KC Southeast/Pembroke Country-Day/Lee’s Summit/Ruskin
Coach Lee Flappan began his 43-year career in 1953 as an assistant to the legendary Cecil Patterson at Southeast High School before a 16-year career at Pembroke Country-Day School in which he won four Catholic-Prep conference titles from 1961-1978.
Coach Flappan also helped to usher in the era of integration at Country-Day. Class of 1969 graduate Dr. Gerald Woods, who served as captain of the ‘68 team that finished ranked in the KC Area top 10, emphasized, “I was the first and only African-American player on those teams. Coach Flappan treated me fairly, without exclusion or bias. He promoted my development of leadership skills which saw me elected captain of my sprint team at Princeton.”
Through the 60’s and 70’s Lee was one of the few area coaches to employ the single wing offense, and additionally was an early area adopter of the run-and-shoot offense. Coach Flappan would go on to coach at Lee’s Summit and Ruskin during his career. Additionally, Lee was the victorious Missouri head coach in the 1984 MO-KAN All Star Game.
Former Pem-Day player Andy Cowherd felt Coach Flappan was a strong influence on him and many other young men. “He convinced us that even without access to the number and caliber of athletes that some of our competitor schools had, we could play as a team and win. He taught us that hard work in-season and in the off-season would yield benefits. He showed us the value of setting goals and trying to achieve them. Coach Flappan insured that we were students too. He insisted on standards of behavior and appearances that insured that his players were good representatives of our team and our school.”
Lee passed away in 2012 and is also a member of the Pembroke Hill Faculty and Staff Hall of Fame.
Jeff Gourley – KC Southwest/Belton/Olathe South
Coach Gourley’s 30-year career began in 1984 when he joined the staff at Grain Valley as an assistant football and track coach. The following year Jeff took over the head coaching position for three years at Sherwood High School. From 1988-1994 Coach Gourley led Southwest High School.
He arrived in Belton as an assistant in 1995 and then became the head coach in 2000. His 2003 team were semi-finalists and his 2007 squad would finish as state runner-ups. Following his stint at Belton Jeff led the Olathe South Falcons from 2008-2015 earning a state championship in 2011.
Coach Gourley’s teams made the playoffs 8 times, earned 8 district championship titles, 2 conference titles, 1 state-runner up and one state championship. In addition to successful runs on both sides of the state line, Coach Gourley supported the GKCFCA by serving as a charter member of the Board of Directors from 1991-2000.
Bob Lisher – Lawrence Free State/Blue Valley North
Coach Lisher began his career at Lawrence High School as an assistant coach in 1985. After 10 seasons Bob would take over as the head coach at Blue Valley North leading them to their first district title and playoff victory. He led the Mustangs for 4 seasons before returning to Lawrence, this time as the head coach at Free State. From 1997-2018 Coach Lisher would win nearly 150 games.
Coach Lisher’s teams made 19 playoff appearances, earned 13 district titles, 5 Sunflower League championships, 10 state quarter-final appearances, 6 state semifinal appearances and 2008 runner-up.
He was awarded EKL Coach of the Year in 1996, Sunflower League Coach of the Year honors twice, KC Chiefs Coach of the Week 6 times, and the Lawrence Journal World recognized him twice as the area Coach of the Year. Bob has served as the head coach and assistant coach in multiple Shrine Bowls and GKCFCA All-Star Games.
Coach Lisher has the distinction of coaching 41 All-State players, 14 Division 1 athletes including one NFL player, and a multitude of small college athletes. He also made giving back to the coaches association a priority by serving on the Board of Directors.
Ed Russell – William Chrisman/Blue Springs/Truman/KC Westport
Coach Ed Russell has the distinction of coaching football continuously for over 6 decades. Known as a cutting-edge innovator of the game, Coach Russell is recognized for bringing the run and shoot offense to the Kansas City area after visiting with the legendary inventor Tiger Ellison himself in 1966.
Among various other stops including professional baseball, flying for the Air Force, private business, flight instructor training and coaching football at Missouri Valley College, Ed Russell has impacted football players at area high schools including William Chrisman, Blue Springs, Truman, Tipton, Westport, and University Academy.
Beginning his coaching career in 1957 as an assistant at William Chrisman High School he would become the Bears’ head coach before becoming the head coach and athletic director for Blue Springs from 1966-1972. It was in this era that he began to employ Tiger Ellison’s ideas of run-and-shoot football.
From 1972-1977 Coach Russell earned two Coach of the Year honors as the head coach of Truman, a feat he would repeat when he returned to William Chrisman from 1980-1983.
Following a very successful run as the offensive coordinator at Missouri Valley College, he returned to the high school ranks in 2000 helping Tipton High School to a very impressive average of 10-wins/year over 7 seasons.
Coach Russell would once again unite with legendary HOF Coach Dan Stanley in 2008 at Westport culminating in an impressive playoff win over a suburban powerhouse in just their second season at the school. Russell and Stanley would continue their partnership at University Academy from 2013-2014 after which Coach Russell still finds himself as a press box coach for the Tipton Cardinals.
Mark Thomas – Odessa/Kearney/Belton
Coach Mark Thomas began his coaching career in 1980 at Osceola but quickly jumped at the opportunity to work with legendary Hall of Fame coach Pete Adkins at Jefferson City High School from 1981-1985. Coach Thomas would begin his first stint at Odessa from 1985-1988 before taking the leap into the foray of college football at Central Missouri State for 8 seasons. It would be a return home to Boonville which brought the Pirates their second state championship. Their first came in the 70’s with a young Mark Thomas leading the way on the field.
Coach Thomas has the distinction of coaching one of the most prolific high school football teams in Missouri state history as he led Kearney to a perfect 15-0 record in 2003. A season win which their margin of victory was 35+ in all 15 games, including the state championship. The 2003 championship was the second consecutive title for the Bulldogs.
After another stint as an assistant coach for Jeff City, Coach Thomas returned to the Kansas City Area taking over as the head coach at Belton from 2011-2012. He then returned to Odessa and in his third season led the Bulldogs to a second-place finish in Missouri Class 3.
Former player Benny Palmer credits Coach Thomas’ love of the game as the secret to his success. Serving as his quarterback on those championship Kearney teams and as an assistant coach on his Odessa staff he relates, “I got to experience first-hand his devotion to the game and the young people in his programs. He is a defender of the game of football and credits the game for what it has given to him. However, it is he who has given to the game.”
Coach Thomas has an overall record of 139-104, earned Coach of the Year honors twice and is also a member of the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Walt Thompson – KC Southeast/Paseo/Wyandotte
Coach Thompson began his career in 1970 as the assistant coach at Paseo High School then took over as the head coach at Southeast High School in 1972. Walt Thompson coached for 18 years at Southeast before his career would take him to the Kansas side of the state line as he became the Principal of Wyandotte High School. In a rare principal/head coach combination, Coach Thompson led the Bulldog community not only as their head administrator but also as their head football coach climaxing in a conference championship in 2006.
Over his 28-year career at Southeast and Wyandotte Walt Thompson compiled an impressive record of 129-55-1 including 12 league titles. Having coached 7 All-Americans, 15 All-State Players, 30 All-Metro Players and 50 All-Conference Players, his ability to get the most out of those who played for him is obvious.
Even after retiring, Thompson is still working with young people in the metro. This past year he served as the acting principal at Banneker Elementary in the Kansas City, Kansas School District.
Dirk Wedd – Lawrence
Coach Dirk Wedd began his distinguished high school coaching career after 10 seasons of college coaching at Pratt Community College and Wichita State. At Wichita State Coach Wedd served under the NCAA’s first African American Head Coach at the D1 level. Coach Wedd served as an assistant coach from 1990-1998 before taking over as the head coach at his alma mater, Lawrence High School in 1999. Coach Wedd has the distinction of being the only person to have received Wichita Capital/Eagle Top 11 as a player and a coach. Before retiring as the longest tenured head coach at Lawrence High in 2018, Coach Wedd’s teams won 104 games.
Legendary Hall of Fame Coach Dick Purdy recognized an often-overlooked achievement of Coach Wedd, “The toughest job many high school coaches face is keeping a high level of
success following a school district splitting of a high school. Dirk did a great job of not letting that happen, regularly getting his teams into the playoffs.”
Coach Wedd was the recipient of the Dave Bassore Man of the Year Award and the Simone Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.
His Lawrence squads were 3-time Sunflower League champions making the playoffs 13 times. They recorded an undefeated regular season in 2015 which also garnered him Coach of the Year honors.
Despite all the honors and victories, Bill DeWitt, who served as Coach Wedd’s athletic director, believed, “It was his character that defined his greatness. Dirk has always treated his players, assistant coaches and opponents with great respect. Whenever former players return to campus, they immediately want to visit Coach Wedd, the man who influenced hundreds of these young men who have grown up to be coaches, teachers, police officers and fathers capable of accomplishing things they would not have considered without Dirk’s support and guidance.”
Coach Wedd is a multiple time All-Star coach for both the Shriners and the GKCFCA and currently serves as the Director of High School Relations on the University of Kansas Football staff.
Scott Wright – Blue Valley West
Coach Wright’s coaching career, which began in 1982, included stints at Blue Valley, Blue Valley North, and Blue Valley West.
A Longtime assistant coach at Blue Valley, Scott took over as the first head football coach at newly opened Blue Valley West in 2001.
Of his many accomplishments, Blue Valley West athletic director Cindy Roach was most impressed with the love and leadership he provided his athletes. “Three of his former players are now teachers at West. That doesn’t happen by accident! That happens because of the love for each of his players.”
In 15 seasons the Jaguars won 5 district titles, 6 regional championships, 3 sectional titles, and an undefeated 2007 season which brought home a state championship to the Blue Valley West trophy case.
“Scott is the ultimate ‘players coach’,” says former assistant and current Blue Valley West head coach Josh Koerkenmeirer. “Everything is guided by what is best for the kids. He showed and told his players how much he loved them and cared for them. While he experienced a tremendous amount of success on the field, he never allowed that to determine what he did as a coach. His ultimate goal was always to create the best sons, husbands, and fathers possible.”
Former player Ryan Copp reiterates the belief that Coach Wright coaches for a higher purpose and concludes, “I believe he embodies everything coaches should strive to be: a great man, husband, father, leader and friend.”
Lynn Dickey – Osawatomie, Kansas State, Houston Oilers, Green Bay Packers
Lynn Dickey is a graduate of Kansas State University where he was a 2-time all-Big 8 quarterback in 1969 & 1970. He was the Big 8 Offensive Player on the ALL-TIME Big 8 Team. His Jersey No. 11 is the only number ever retired at Kansas State University.
Lynn was drafted by the Houston Oilers in 1971 and played there through 1975. He was traded to the Green Bay Packers in 1976 and set most of the single season & career passing records. In 1983 he led the NFL in passing yards (4458) and touchdown passes (32). Lynn retired after the 1985 season.
Lynn Dickey is a current member of the Kansas High School Sports Hall of Fame, The State of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, The Kansas State University Sports Hall of Fame and the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
He currently lives in Leawood, Kansas with wife Anamaria, has four daughters and five grandchildren and works for Serve Your Customer Prescriptions Management, based in Milwaukee.
Dave Stewart – Channel 9/Metro Sports
Stewart grew up in Overland Park and attended Shawnee Mission South where he was a standout baseball player. After graduating in 1975 he went on to Kansas State University where he majored in television and radio.
With the exception of a two-year stint in Des Moines, Iowa, Stewart has spent his entire professional career in the Metro. He began at KSHB for his first job before heading to Iowa. He returned in 1984 to become a sports anchor and eventually sports director at KMBC-TV. In 2001 he moved to Metro (now Spectrum) Sports working as an anchor and play-by-play announcer on various sports. Stewart also had a robust radio career doing sports for KQRC for the Johnny Dare Morning show and hosting CrunchTime on Sports Radio 810 WHB.
Hee has been a champion of high school sports and football in particular. Stewart has served as the master of ceremonies for the annual Simone Awards since 1993.
Stewart currently lives in Olathe.