Former football coach inducted into hall of fame

Pink Out Game_10-11-13_KS321

Photo By Kendra Schwartz

By Zia Kelly

During halftime of the Pink Out game on Oct. 11, an important figure in LHS history was recognized.

    Every year, the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) acknowledges a handful of educators and coaches that exhibit excellence in their field by inducting them into their Hall of Fame.

   This year, former head football coach Dick Purdy, leader of five LHS state championship titles, was the recipient of this award.

   Purdy coached at Lawrence High from 1990 to 1998, taking state in ‘90, ’91, ’92, ’93 and ‘95. He worked at the school as a math and physical education teacher.

   During his 43 year career, Purdy had a win-loss record of 273-140, and six ties. Before his eight years at LHS, he taught and coached at Shawnee Mission West High School.

   The Lawrence High athletic department received many phone calls from former students and players congratulating Purdy for his induction. Athletic administrator Emily Cates commented on what Purdy’s award means to LHS.

   “I think it looks good for Lawrence High,” Cates said. “It shows how well thought of our coaching staff is in general. It’s a great honor for Lawrence High and Purdy himself.”

    Before the game started at 7, crowds of people gathered near the shotput and discus field to honor Purdy.

    “It’s good to be back here at Lawrence High because we had some great success, and we had a lot of fun while we were here,” Purdy said.

    Purdy coached at other schools during his career, but he believes that his time at LHS played a large role in his recognition.

     “My time at Lawrence High had a lot to do with that award because we won five state championships here, and that is really important in the scheme of things,” Purdy said. “I had the chance to work with a lot of really great people here at Lawrence High, but I suppose the great thing about it is the great assistant players and the great coaches we have had.”

      While his many wins and championships were a defining factor in Purdy’s acknowledgement, he was also considered for the character he exhibited towards his players.

      During his induction, various career statistics and facts blaired from the stadium speakers, however, also mentioned was his notable mentality, always crediting his players for wins, and taking the fall for losses.

     Purdy is the third LHS football coach to be acknowledged in the KSHSAA Hall of Fame, after Al Woodland in the ‘50s and ‘60s who won 12 state championships , and Bill Reeman in ‘70s and ‘80s who won five state championships.

     Purdy’s continuation of the legacy was felt throughout the stadium at the game and lives on with the current football program.

     “It just shows the tradition that Lawrence High has and has had in the past, and how the tradition continues,” Cates said.