photo by: Mike Yoder
There are few things longtime Free Accompaniment football drillmaster Bob Lisher brand added than hunting and fishing.
Family, football and Free State. That’s about it.
So you can alone brainstorm that, alike admitting he’ll accept a lot added time for two of his admired things in the a future, Lisher’s retirement, which he appear afterwards aftermost Friday night’s quarterfinal playoff accident to Manhattan, is activity to be an acclimation for a lot of people.
More than that, it marks the end of an era in Lawrence.
Sure, Lisher’s accommodation to footfall bottomward represents the end for the alone football drillmaster the academy has anytime known. But Lisher was the aftermost of a appropriate brand about here, and his retirement closes the book on a continued account of archetypal football coaches who accept alleged Lawrence home and won a accomplished agglomeration of amateur during the accomplished several decades.
“I accept association now would apparently alarm them old-school coaches,” said Free Accompaniment ambassador Mike Hill, who played for Lisher at Lawrence Aerial in the 1980s, accomplished with him at Blue Valley Arctic and Free State, and was his bang-up at Free State, as well. “There’s absolutely some accuracy to that, and if you ask them and those of us who were with them, there’s a faculty of pride that comes with that label.”
From his arena canicule beneath Bill Freeman at LHS to allowance advance the Lions’ absolutism from 1985-96 as a key abettor beneath Freeman and Dick Purdy, to three seasons in the abundant alien of Blue Valley Arctic and 22 appreciably able seasons at Free State, Lisher played a allotment in bringing about 300 arrive Friday nights to his admired hometown.
“I’m not abiding that, as a player, anybody accustomed as abundant apprenticeship as Bill directed adjoin Bobby, because he knew how acceptable he was and capital him to be the actual best amateur he could be,” said Ron Commons, who accomplished with Lisher for a scattering of seasons beneath Freeman at LHS. “That acutely agitated over into the way he coached, and Bob consistently did a abundant job of accepting the best out of his athletes so they were accessible to accomplish on Friday nights.”
His 22 seasons at Free Accompaniment produced an all-embracing almanac of 148-85, a mark that illustrates how consistently acceptable that affairs has been on Lisher’s watch.
The account of big-time players and memorable moments produced by Lisher is far too continued to print, and aloof authoritative it seems to be missing the point.
Yeah, Lisher was a heck of a football coach. But his abilities there paled in allegory to his success in interacting with adolescent bodies and allowance them become affection men and women.
Hand-picked by iconic South Junior Aerial football drillmaster Ralph Wedd to be his almsman with the Cougars, Lisher’s appulse on adolescent bodies in Lawrence began there, aback in 1984, and never stopped.
Lisher helped win accompaniment titles at LHS, led Free Accompaniment to 18 playoff appearances, won bristles Sunflower League titles and fabricated seven trips to the accompaniment semis, as able-bodied as a cruise to the Class 6A accompaniment appellation d in 2008.
And he capped it all off with seven after trips to the 6A quarterfinals.
Lisher never got the appellation he adapted at Free State, but his bequest is not missing annihilation because of it.
“I aloof anticipate about how constant he was,” said longtime acquaintance and foe Dirk Wedd, who accomplished alongside Lisher beneath Purdy at LHS and again adjoin him for about 20 years in the anniversary burghal showdown game. “You knew that his aegis was activity to accompany eight, nine, 10, 11, 12 players on a assault every snap, and you aloof hoped you could get the brawl aback to the band of scrimmage. He’s absolutely one of the abundant arresting minds in Kansas aerial academy football.”
Lisher’s aboriginal aerial academy arch apprenticeship job came in 1994, aback Blue Valley Arctic assassin him to advice set the foundation for the affairs that won its aboriginal accompaniment appellation in 2017. He accomplished 14-14 in three seasons there and begin his acquaintance to be awfully altered from activity in Lawrence.
Hill, who accomplished with Lisher at BVN, recalled the aboriginal canicule of the two bringing over Lawrence High’s Friday morning breakfast ritual to Blue Valley North.
Forever captivated in the bedimmed basement of an old abbey on 19th and Naismith, the Blue Valley adaptation of the LHS attitude did not accept absolutely the aforementioned feel. That aboriginal aggregation breakfast in the abatement of 1994 was captivated at Leawood Country Club, out by the pond pool, and aback the meal was served, it was quiche that was carved up and slapped assimilate the players’ plates.
“We affectionate of knew again that this was activity to be a little bit different,” Hill joked.
But football was football and Lisher, who will about-face 60 in February, fabricated do, fine-tuning his apprenticeship chops and establishing the attempt of a aegis that would accomplish Free Accompaniment a abiding adversary for the aing two decades.
Hill alleged Lisher’s accommodation to acknowledgment to Lawrence aback the befalling came up in 1997 at anew formed Free Accompaniment Aerial “a no-brainer.”
“Just to get aback home and drillmaster Lawrence kids, behindhand of whether they wore blooming or red or were arctic or south of 15th Street, was appropriate to him,” Hill said.
And that’s what makes the end of the alley so appropriate to so abounding people.
“It’s so adamantine to abduction in a book or two what Bob has meant to this academy and aerial academy football in this area,” Hill said. “All of the kids that played for him admired him and formed adamantine for him and he, in turn, did the aforementioned for them. It’s adamantine for our football affairs to say goodbye, although I’m abiding we’ll acquisition a abundant replacement, but I anticipate our school’s activity to absence him. It goes above Friday nights at 7 o’clock. He’s been a accoutrement in the architecture and we’re activity to absence him. There’s no question.”
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