TOPEKA, Kan. – Kaye B. Pearce, former Executive Director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, who served 20 years with the association, passed away Dec. 6 at his home in Bella Vista, AR, at the age of 85.
For 39 years Kaye Pearce devoted his life to the kids of Kansas as a teacher, coach, athletic director and member of the KSHSAA staff. His years as a coach and as a member of the KSHSAA staff earned him an enviable 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.
Pearce joined the staff of the Kansas State High School Activities Association in 1976 as an Administrative Assistant. In 1989 he was named the Associate Director and from 1993-1996 he served as the Executive Director. While a member of the KSHSAA staff Pearce was the administrator for numerous activities, perhaps most notably football, basketball and track and field. Professional positions included: NFHS Football Rules Committee for 20 years, serving as the chair the last four years; two terms on the NFHS Track & Field Rules Committee; Board of Directors for the Sunflower State Games; and Kansas Wesleyan University (Salina, KS) Board of Trustees.
For many years following his retirement in 1996, he served as the KSHSAA State Track and Field Meet referee.
A native of Salina, Pearce began his career at his alma mater, spending nine year as a teacher and coach. When Salina added another high school he remained at Central High School for ten years as the athletic director, match teacher, football and track coach. During his 19 seasons as a football coach for the Mustangs from 1957-1975, the last 16 he served as the program’s head coach. He had a record of 91-48-4 (.654). From 1960-1968, before the start of high school playoffs in Kansas, his teams never won less than six games when the maximum number played was nine.
Pearce is a member of three Halls of Fame:
1986– Kansas Wesleyan University (Salina) Hall of Fame (Football, Basketball)
2001 – KSHSAA Hall of Fame (Administrator)
2019—Salina Central High School Hall of Fame
Pearce is survived by his wife Barbara, three children and several grandchildren.