Hall of Famers honored at All-Star Game

Nick Smith/PrepsKC

By PrepsKC staff
Posted: June 19, 2019 - 7:43 AM



The 2019 Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association inducted its fifth hall of fame class at last week's BeYOUnion.com Kansas vs. Missouri All-Star Game.

Below is a detailed list of the honorees and their accomplishments.

Coach

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.”

Player

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.

Associate

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.