Coach Profile: Free State's Bob Lisher 3/30
By Dion Clisso PrepsKC Managing Editor
Bob Lisher is a Lawrence guy. He played his high school football there, was an assistant coach at Lawrence High School and when the new Lawrence Free State opened in 1997 Lisher left his job as head coach at Blue Valley North to establish the new program at Free State.
When the schools split Lawrence was one of the most successful schools in Kansas Class 6A. Between 1986 and 1995 the Lions won eight state titles including five in a row. Lisher was an assistant coach on many of those teams before he left to become the coach at Blue Valley North. When Free State opened Lisher jumped at the chance to return to his home town.
“It was exciting to be able to build a program from the ground up,” Lisher said. “It has been a great challenge getting each and every thing that you need to start a program going.”
Lisher and his staff experienced success early and have maintained a high level in the 18-year history of the program. The Firebirds have been in the playoffs 14 of the 18 years including a trip to the Class 6A state championship game in 2008. This past season Free State had a strong postseason run making it all the way to the 6A semifinal game where they lost to Hutchinson.
It seems year in and year out the Firebirds are one of the toughest teams in the Sunflower League. The team is fundamentally sound and is consistent on both sides of the ball. The tough physical style is something the Firebirds have cultivated every year of the program.
“Hopefully that is kind of our reputation,” Lisher said. “We want to be a team that is tough, plays the game the right way and comes to play every night.”
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