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Archive for Tuesday, April 27, 1999

PURDY ENDS 41-YEAR COACHING CAREER

April 27, 1999

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Lawrence High's Dick Purdy, who has won more big-class state championships than any other high school football coach in Kansas, announced his retirement on Monday.

Purdy, who turned 65 on April 11, compiled a 270-138-5 record in 41 seasons as a high school football coach. In nine seasons at LHS, he amassed an 84-17 mark (.832 winning percentage) and five state championships.

"It wasn't a real easy decision to make," Purdy said of retiring. "A lot of guys have left coaching a lot earlier. I feel fortunate I can recognize the signs as to when it's time to step down."

Purdy coached LHS to five state titles in his first six years with the Lions. Under Purdy, Lawrence reached the state final in each of his first six years and the state playoffs eight times. Lawrence missed the state playoffs in 1997, when the Lions finished 4-5.

Purdy, a Kansas City, Mo., native and 1956 Baker University graduate, began his coaching career in Chetopa, where he spent two years. He then coached nine seasons at Chanute before taking over at Shawnee Mission West, where he spent 14 seasons and won a state championship in 1972 -- his first of six state crowns.

After serving two years as Kansas University's recruiting coordinator under Don Fambrough in 1981 and '82, Purdy returned to high school coaching at Lee's Summit, Mo. He left Lee's Summit in 1990 to succeed the retiring Bill Freeman at LHS.

Purdy suffered a heart attack a month after the 1997 season but returned to coach the Lions to a 5-5 record and state playoff berth in '98.

-- Steve Rottinghaus' phone message number is 832-7152. His e-mail address is srottinghaus@ljworld.com

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