Bob Lisher, Dirk Wedd to be inducted into GKCFCA Hall of Fame during all-star game

photo by: Nick Krug

Free State head coach Bob Lisher celebrates a touchdown against Olathe South during the first quarter on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 at Free State High School.

This time next year, former Free State head football coach Bob Lisher could be coaching on the other sideline.

For the second time in his career, Lisher will be the head coach of the Kansas team in the Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association All-Star Game. The Kansas All-Stars will take on the Missouri All-Stars at 7 p.m. Thursday at College Boulevard Activity Center.

Yet it won’t be Lisher’s final coaching appearance after all, even though he stepped down from being Free State’s head coach at the end of last season. Earlier this week, Lisher actually began his new job as the offensive line coach for William Chrisman High School in Independence, Mo.

Offensive coordinator Gene Wier, who used to be director of high school relations for the Kansas football team, called Lisher to offer him the position early last week. Lisher officially took the job last Friday.

“He called and wanted me to be the offensive line coach, so that is what I’m going to do,” Lisher said. “I wasn’t going to retire-retire, I was going to look for something different. I was going to take a couple months, but that has changed.”

During Lisher’s last showing as a Firebird, though, he will receive one more honor at halftime of the All-Star game to add another achievement to his illustrious career. Lisher will be inducted into the GKCFCA Hall of Fame along with former Lawrence High coach Dirk Wedd.

Like Lisher, Wedd didn’t waste much time getting back in the game after ending his tenure with a local high school program.

photo by: Nick Krug

Lawrence High head coach Dirk Wedd laughs with a game official during the first quarter on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 at Shawnee Mission North District Stadium.

Wedd spent 19 years as the head football coach and head boys golf coach at Lawrence High before retiring after the 2017-18 school year. Wedd joined the KU football staff as an analyst for the defense last year, and is now serving his first season as the director of high school relations.

“I’m thankful for having a great family and wife that supported me for 40 years of doing something that was unbelievably fun and enjoyable,” Wedd said. “I’m thankful to coach close to 30 years at my alma mater, which is the greatest school in the state, in my opinion. With that, comes with coaching the greatest kids in the world.”

Lisher, meanwhile, began his new job Monday. And it has kept him rather busy during his first few days with the new gig.

It is about an hour commute for Lisher, who will remain living in Lawrence. He has to be there at 7 a.m. to go over what the Bears are installing into their playbook that day. They then go to the field to work on those new concepts for two hours.

Lisher returns home to do some painting before heading to Olathe for practice with the Kansas All-Stars. It is there that he gets to work with some of his former colleagues from his time at Free State. Mike Gillman is coaching the inside linebackers, while Taylor Stuart is coaching the receivers for the Kansas All-Stars.

Shawnee Mission South head coach Brett Oberzan, a former Free State defensive coordinator, will coach the outside linebackers as well. It also is one last opportunity for Lisher to coach former FSHS players, including wide receiver LJ Mack, kicker Kameron Lake, linebackers Jalen Nash, Shane Skwarlo and Matt Georgie.

Lawrence High has two former players slated to participate in the game as well. Defensive linemen Eric Galbreath and EJ Jewsome will compete for the Kansas All-Stars, which won last year’s meeting by a 30-0 margin. Lawrence’s Jeff Lyster will coach the defensive line.

“They are pleased that I’m still doing football, and so am I,” Lisher said. “It was just a time for a change.”

Lisher compiled a 148-85 record during his prolific career at Free State, which began in 1997. He led FSHS to 18 playoff appearances, won five Sunflower League titles and made seven trips to the state semifinals, as well as a runner-up finish in the Class 6A state title game in 2008.

The Firebirds reached the Class 6A quarterfinals in each of Lisher’s final seven seasons at the helm. Lisher closed out his career with Free State by posting back-to-back double-digit win season, winning 20 of his previous 22 contests.

“It just means I have been around good coaches, players and people for 37 years,” Lisher said. “To be given this award, a lot of it has to do with the people surrounding me during all those times.”

Still, it seems only fitting that Lisher and Wedd will be inducted together after leaving their mark on both football programs. Lisher and Wedd were even once on the same coaching staff at LHS before eventually facing each other in the annual city showdown games for nearly 20 years.

“I have known his family forever, his dad was my junior high coach,” Lisher said. “We have had a lot of times together, playing golf and putting on camps. So it is pretty special.”


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