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Former Administrator David Cherry, Thrilled by HOF Induction, Reflects on 22-year Tenure with KSHSAA

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By Rick Peterson Jr., KSHSAA Covered

 

When David Cherry was a student at Wichita North, he packed his schedule with as many sports and activities he could handle. 

“I participated in five different sports. I was involved in choir, I was involved in student council,” Cherry said. “I guess I didn’t know I was in a big high school because I was really involved in a lot of things. I had a big balance growing up.”

It set the tone for Cherry’s administrative career and his 22 years as Assistant Executive Director for the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

Cherry wore many hats and had several different responsibilities with KSHSAA, including the administration of soccer, swimming and diving, scholars bowls activities, wellness and health programs, coaches education programs and directing the student advisory team and student council program. 

He was honored for his service with his induction into the KSHSAA Hall of Fame on May 27th during a ceremony at the state track and field meet at Cessna Stadium in Wichita

“I could have told you every weekend what I would be doing for 22 years,” said Cherry, who retired from the Association in 2018. “My life was scheduled because the seasons were scheduled.”

Cherry, a Bethany College grad who completed his masters degrees at Fort Hays State University, started his career as a health and physical education teacher and coach at Lowther Middle School and Emporia High School. He later became a teacher and coach at Remington High School and then was a teacher, coach and athletic director at Ellis High School before joining the Association staff in 1996, Gary Musselman’s first year as Executive Director.

“I was an athletic director so it wasn’t as big of an adjustment, doing administrative things instead of being a coach and a teacher,” said Cherry, who noted that Jim Krob, a former cross country coach and professor at Bethany and Fort Hays State was a big influence on him.

“I was used to the everyday contact with the kids and the camaraderie that teachers have in the district, but I was just thrilled to be on the staff and having the opportunity to work with such great people.”
 
Cherry watched swimming and soccer grow significantly during his time as administrator for those sports. Swimming and diving expanded from one class into two classes for both girls and boys, while soccer grew from two classes to three on the boys’ side and from one to three classes for the girls. 

“It was exciting to see the numbers every year keep going up and up,” Cherry said, especially on the girls’ side. Being able to advance into three state championships was monumental, I think, in the effect for soccer in the state of Kansas in the participation numbers and the success all over.

“It was slow at the beginning, but you could just see the spark. To be able to showcase those girls in their own season and have that grow the way it did was really fun to watch from the administrative side.”

Organizing the STUCO programs and workshops was a year-long responsibility for Cherry. 

 “We did regional conferences in October,” Cherry said. “We had the summer workshops. We had the advisors coming into gather and learn. It was a program that was ongoing all year, a lot like KAY. 

“Dr. Earl Reum was out of Denver, and he was so instrumental in starting student council in Kansas, back with (former KSHSAA Executive Directors) Nelson Hartman and Brice Durbin. And to see that growth, all the programs of student council, being year long — that’s why it’s an activities association, not just an athletic association. We service a lot kids on the STUCO side.

Cherry said another rewarding experience was helping organizing the KSHSAA Coaching School each August. 

“To see those familiar faces of coaches and speakers and all the people that come back year after year was as a fun way to kick off the school year,” Cherry said. 

Cherry’s decision to retire in 2018 was brought on by a desire to be closer to family. He and his wife, Robin, now reside in Buhler. Since retirement, the couple has focused on caring for their parents. 

“I loved what I did. I loved working for KSHSAA. My wife was a kindergarten teacher for 20 years and she loved that as well. But we loved our parents more,” Cherry said. “When we decided to retire, Robin’s mom, she had Parkinson’s for 25 years, and she was moving into a facility. My folks were in their late 80s. 

“We decided we were going to retire early to see what God had in store for us, being with our parents. We lost Robin’s mom in 2020 with COVID, but she was able to spend every day with her for the last three years. Since then, my mom passed away last July, and Robin and I moved in with my dad, who is 91. God has led us to take care of them.”

Cherry thinks back on his time at KSHSAA with pride. 

“The thing I suppose I missed most about not working for KSHSAA is just all that camaraderie, the teamwork,” Cherry said. “The assistant to the administrators and the print shop, and all those things that happen behind the scenes that just get done without people noticing, it’s just a credit to what it’s like.

“I’m overwhelmed (to be inducted into the Hall of Fame). I think it’s a great organization that serves it’s member schools so well, and tries to keep a balance. It’s an honor to have been a small part of it and now being apart of the Hall of Fame. I had great teammates, great mentors, great officials to work with.”

For more articles on high school activities check out www.kshsaacovered.com presented by Capitol Federal.

 

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