Archive for Saturday, May 15, 1999


May 15, 1999


Lawrence High hopes to have a new head football coach in place within a couple of weeks.

"We're screening applications as they come in," LHS principal Dick Patterson said. "We hope to have the selection made before the end of the school year, and hopefully before that. My goal is to have the players be able to meet with their coach before school is out."

The last day for this year's seniors is May 28. School for most students ends the first week of June.

Patterson said the job is still being advertised and that no interviews have been conducted yet.

"We'll start the selection process soon," he said.

The job opened on April 26 when Dick Purdy announced his retirement. Purdy, 65, coached nine years at LHS and 41 years overall.

Dirk Wedd, an assistant under Purdy since 1990, is the lone in-house applicant. Wedd is a 1970 LHS graduate and was an all-state selection for the Lions in 1969. He is currently the Lions' head baseball coach.

Ron Commons, Lawrence High's athletics director since 1994, said he was not a candidate for the job. Commons coached under Bill Freeman and was a finalist for head position in 1990. He remained on Purdy's staff for four seasons before taking over the AD duties.

LHS assistant Jerry Skakal, the head coach at Topeka before becoming the Lions' defensive coordinator in 1994, also said he was not a candidate. He is the lone Lion assistant with any experience as head varsity football coach.

Historically, candidates within the LHS program, whether an alum or assistant, haven't fared well with the selection committee. The last time an LHS alum was selected for the head position was Elmer Schaake in 1938. No Lion assistant has been promoted since and LHS has had six head football coaches since Schaake left following the 1942 season.

The LHS search committee is scheduled to meet Saturday morning for the first time.

-- Steve Rottinghaus' phone message number is 832-7152. His e-mail address is

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