Coach Profile: Free State's Bob Lisher 11/18
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 seven 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 14-year history of the program. The Firebirds have been in the playoffs 11 of the 14 years including a trip to the Class 6A state championship game in 2008.
Last year Free State lost in the second round of the playoffs and this year they were eliminated in the first round. Even with a first round loss the Firebirds led No. 1 seed Olathe East 16-0 before eventually losing 20-16. This wasn’t the most talented group Lisher has coached but it is the type of team he has become know for, a tough hard-nosed football team that is tough to beat every week.
“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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