Former KSHSAA executive director Pearce dies
Kaye Pearce, who spent 20 years on the staff of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, including four years as the executive director, died Sunday at his home in Bella Vista, Arkansas, at the age of 85.
Pearce joined the KSHSAA staff in 1976 as an administrative assistant before moving up to an associate director position in 1989. He served as an administrator for numerous activities, most notably, football, basketball and track and field before serving as the association’s executive director from 1993-96.
While at the KSHSAA, Pearce also spent 20 years on the National Federation of High School’s football rules committee, serving as the chair for the final four of those years, and also had two terms on the NFHS Track & Field Rules Committee. He also was on the board of directors for the Sunflower State Games and the Kansas Wesleyan University Board of Trustees.
Following his retirement from the KSHSAA, Pearce continued to serve high schools as the head referee for the KSHSAA State Track and Field Meet.
“Mr. Pearce was an ardent supporter of Kansas students and schools and his life work touched many lives,” KSHSAA executive director Bill Faflick said. “His faithful service as a teach, coach and administrator helped make Kansas better.”
A native of Salina, Pearce began his coaching and teaching career at his alma mater, Salina High School. When Salina added another high school he remained at Salina Central for 10 years as the athletic director, match teacher, football and track coach.
Pearce spent 19 seasons as a football coach for the Mustangs (1957-1975), the last 16 of those as the head coach. He posted a record of 91-48-4 (.654) and from 1960-1968, before the start of high school playoffs in Kansas, his teams never won fewer than six games when the maximum number played was nine.
In all, Pearce spent 39 years involved with high school athletics, earning him a reputation as an excellent leader who truly cared about his profession, those he was privileged to work with and the students in the state of Kansas. His efforts landed him a spot in three Halls of Fame — Kansas Wesleyan (Football, Basketball, 1986 inductee), KSHSAA (Administrator, 2001) and Salina Central (2019).
Pearce is survived by his wife, Barbara; three children; and several grandchildren.