Archive for Sunday, May 16, 1999


May 16, 1999


Members of Lawrence High's search committee weren't divulging any names Saturday, but the Journal-World has learned the names of four coaches interviewed for the LHS head football coaching position that opened three weeks ago.

Three of the candidates are head coaches and the other is an assistant at a Kansas prep powerhouse.

The three head coaches who were interviewed were Shawnee Mission Miege's Paul Brown, Conway Springs' Mark Bliss and Emporia's Mark Luedtke. Liberal assistant Shane Taylor also spoke with school officials.

LHS athletics director Ron Commons wouldn't confirm any of the names or reveal how many interviewed on Saturday, the first day of interviews.

"I'm not at liberty to say," Commons said.

How many applied for the job?

"I never counted them," he said.

Commons said LHS was still accepting applications and would interview in-district candidates later this week. LHS assistant Dirk Wedd is the lone known in-district applicant.

Commons said head coaching experience wasn't a must with the search committee.

"There's nothing written in stone," Commons said. "We're going to be very open-minded and flexible in looking at all candidates."

Here's a look at the candidates:

  • Brown recently completed his 15th season at Miege, where he has a 79-48 record.
  • Bliss guided Conway Springs to the Class 3A state championship and 13-0 record last fall.
  • Luedtke already has resigned as Emporia's coach after five seasons. Emporia's best seasons under Luedtke were 8-2 in 1996 and 9-1 in 1997. The Spartans went 5-4 last fall.
  • Taylor is defensive coordinator at Liberal, which has won four Class 5A state titles since 1992. The Redskins were a state semifinalist last fall.

Commons said the district hoped to have all interviews completed by the end of this week.

Last week, LHS principal Dick Patterson said he wanted to name a coach by the end of the school year. The last day for seniors is May 28. The rest of the students finish the following week.

The Lions' top job opened on April 26 when longtime coach Dick Purdy announced his retirement after 41 years coaching high school football, including the last nine years with the Lions.

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

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