HAYSVILLE: Campus High’s Elliott to retire

After 26 years at Campus High School and 36 years as an educator, Richard Elliott is retiring.

Elliott came to Campus High School in 1991 to be a physical education instructor and head football coach. In 2001, he hung up his coach’s whistle to take the position of assistant athletic director in charge of home events. He took on his current role in 2007.

Elliott started his education career at Horton, Kan. He served as an assistant coach in football, basketball and track.

After three years, he became head football and track coach at El Dorado Springs, Mo., about four hours east of here on U.S. Highway 54, and about 40 minutes east of his hometown, Fort Scott, Kan.

It made sense that Elliott became an educator. He was exposed to the profession early in life.

“Both of my parents were educators,” he said. “I had good coaches in high school and followed them. I wanted to coach and teach, and that’s what I did.”

Elliott did not have any connections to Haysville except one – Larry Weatherbie, who is now deceased.

“I had a buddy (Weatherbie) who was a middle school principal (in Haysville). I grew up with him and his family. Our parents were administrators together,” Elliott said. “Our families had known each other from a long time ago.”

He found out about the job, interviewed and was hired.

Elliott was the Colts’ head football coach for 10 years. Since Campus High opened, no other coach has held the job for more than five years.

The Colts’ best season under Elliott came in 1995. The Colts finished the season 6-3. Those three losses came by a total of four touchdowns. The Colts missed the playoffs in part due to losses to Liberal and rival Derby. That year, Liberal won the 5A State title, while Derby finished as 6A runner-up.

“We had a heck of a football team,” Elliott said. There were other season with records around .500, and the Colts were close to the playoffs. At that time, only one team in each four-team district made it to the playoffs.

“We had seasons where we were on the brink of things happening,” Elliott said.

It’s the things beyond wins and losses that matter most to Elliott

“Watching kids develop from middle and high school, and then when they get out, watching them have families and careers” is what matters, he said. “Even now, I talk to kids from Missouri when I coached there.”

He’s been at Campus long enough to see the second generation – the children of students he had earlier in his career. He said he likes sharing stories and laughs with former students and former players, as well as with the coaches he shared the sidelines with.

“There are a lot of things you remember that jump out…the relationships in the locker room, and with the coaches,” he said.

When asked why he spent 26 years in Haysville, his answer was simple: “My wife (Cindy) said we weren’t going to move again.”

Richard and Cindy have three children. Son Jared is now a physician. One daughter, Jordan, has followed the family tradition and is a teacher. Their other daughter, Taylor, is in college and works full time.

“It’s been a fun ride (but) it’s time for someone else to take over,” Elliott said. “Mr. (Myron) Regier (CHS principal) has made the environment good. Campus is an outstanding school. And we have great kids. That’s what I’ll miss most, talking with them in the hallways and the locker rooms, and watching them compete.”