Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Time to read
5 minutes
Read so far

KFBCA Hall of Fame Selection: Chuck Porter

Posted in:
  • Legendary former Wichita East High School football coach Chuck Porter, center, and former assistant coaches and friends Jerry Taylor, left, and Steve Miller, right. (Photo: Schari Porter)
    Legendary former Wichita East High School football coach Chuck Porter, center, and former assistant coaches and friends Jerry Taylor, left, and Steve Miller, right. (Photo: Schari Porter)

He wasn’t just a football coach for 34 years to hundreds and hundreds of football players.
Chuck Porter, as one former player described it, was a father figure to him.

“Last summer a young man from the (Wichita) East High team of 1982 contacted us to let Chuck know of his love and gratefulness that he was his Coach,” Chuck’s wife of nearly 50 years Schari Porter said. “And also a father figure to him since he did not have a father in his life.”

Coach Porter was a larger-than-life figure to those he touched, mentored, taught and coached. His stature in life even made Paul Bunyan and Goliath seem small in stature.

The accolades continue pouring in for Coach Porter, who turns 81 in April. In February, Coach’s 1982 Wichita East team that won the state championship will be inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. This December, he is to be inducted into the Kansas Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. 

“As a coach, he was inducted into the East High Hall of Fame several years ago,” Schari, speaking on behalf of Chuck, said. “And the 1982 football team will be inducted into the East High Hall of Fame on February 9, 2024.”

The Porter Family has been humbled with the outpouring of love and affection for a man whose family-type values rubbed off on many. 

“I am humbled, honored and thankful for Chuck to once again be recognized,” Schari said. “I believe his work with young men was so important and significant in so many lives. I received a call a few weeks ago from a player at Kapaun, remembering Chuck and planning a trip to come visit.”

Coach Porter will be enshrined later this year alongside Rich Anderson (St Xavier, Washington County, Goodland, Pratt, Liberal); Girard’s Craig Crespino; Pittsburg Colgan’s Frank Crespino; Sedan’s Les Davis; Ted Easter (Valley Heights, Derby, Andale); Frankfort’s Larry Schroeder; and Salina South’s Ken Stonebraker. Easter is the first assistant coach to be elected for the HOF. 
Yet Coach Porter is now battling another challenge known as Frontotemporal Degeneration.

“Three years ago he was diagnosed with FTD, which strikes the Frontal and Temporal Lobes of the brain. FTD destroys brain neurons in these areas, which leads to an inevitable decline in brain function,” Schari said. “FTD affects personality, behavior, cognitive abilities and language. There have been so many changes in his abilities, but he still loves to talk football with coaches and players and can recall specific games and plays.

“As a family we are committed to keeping him comfortable and happy at home. He is living a peaceful life as we care for him, keep consistency in daily routines, laugh with him over simple things and give him lots of love."
Coach graduated from Viola High School in 1961 where he was running back. “He participated in everything. He did well with basketball too,” Schari said.

After graduation, he received an appointment to the Air Force Academy to play football, with a full scholarship.

“He was ready to go, plans were in motion, but in the end decided to stay in Kansas,” Schari said. “He did not play college ball.”

He enrolled at Kansas State as a student in the 1961-62 school year before he returned to south central Kansas where he enrolled at Wichita State in the fall of ‘62. 

In 1966, as a senior at WSU, Coach became the head coach in football, basketball and track at St. Patrick Junior High in Wichita.

One year later he became an assistant under legendary coach Eddie Kriwiel at then-Kapaun High which soon became Kapaun-Mt. Carmel High.

“I was a senior at Mt. Carmel girls HS when the boys from Kapaun came over and joined us, making it a coed school,” Schari said. “I can tell you, we girls were not very happy about.  An all girls school was great fun!”

But the most fun awaited Chuck and Schari. 

“Chuck was my government teacher first semester. That was '71-'72.  I graduated from KMC 1972,” Schari said. “Chuck and I married in '74.”

The Crusaders won four state championships from 1970-73. 

“He thought the world of his mentor, Coach Eddie Kriewel,” Schari said. “Chuck highly valued his time coaching with Coach Kriewel and learned he could instill great work ethic and drive in coaches and young men.  Chuck knew how to inspire them to work for success.”

In 1976 as America celebrated its bicentennial, Coach got his first head coaching job at Bishop Carroll. In four years he guided Carroll to four district titles and a state championship in 1978. 
From 1980-83, he guided Wichita East to a 40-7 record and state championships in 1982 and ‘83. 

Coach went to his alma mater WSU from 1984-86 where he coached defensive linemen and linebackers under Willie Jeffries and Ron Chismar. Football was disbanded following the 1986 season and assistant coaches like Coach Porter were scrambling to find jobs.

But before he left WSU, Coach Porter made an important signing for the Shockers.

“I was signed at my house in Ellsworth to go to Wichita State by WSU assistant coach Chuck Porter,” Stonebraker, also a 2024 HOF honoree, said. “Chuck had great success as a high school football coach in Kansas and he is in this 2024 hall of fame class with me. We did meet once as opposing coaches in a playoff game and that was special, too. He was a terrific coach and a better person.”

Stonebraker added.

“He is one of the friendliest colleagues I have ever known,” he noted. “He was very successful as a coach, but I think he is an even better person. We only faced each other once on the field and he was all class. He was definitely the type of man you wanted your own children to play for.”

Coach Porter’s next stop took him to Buhler where he turned around a program and made the Crusaders contenders. From 1986-99, Coach was 76-49 with five district titles and three Chisholm Trail League crowns. 

He taught History, Government and Physical Education at each of his high school stops. He also coached golf and wrestling and officiated basketball and wrestling. 

Coach was a five-time recipient of Kansas Coach of the Year, was named to the Kansas State High School Activities Association Hall of Fame in 2014, a three-time assistant for the Shrine Bowl, head coach once for the Shrine Bowl and member of the HOF at Buhler and Wichita East.
Three state championships as a high school head coach and a part of seven overall state titles. And a sterling 145-70 record as a prep head coach, having won 67% of the games he coached.

“I remember when he was retiring from football, my feelings were I was so glad he could touch so many young lives,” Schari said. “Yet I felt sorrow for all the future young men that would never experience football with Coach Porter. His life's work was very valuable for so many young people.”

He has contact with past football players often, Schari noted, and stays in contact with several of his beloved assistant coaches.

“He values the coaches he has worked with over the years and treasures their friendship,” she said.

“He no longer greets past players with the number they wore - an incredible skill he had - but is always happy to see players and coaches and loves sharing football stories,” Schari continued.
Coach turns 81 in April, when the couple will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

“I was so pleased that he and I were able to attend my 50 year KMC reunion last year,” she said. “I was so glad to reconnect with everyone and Chuck was very happy to visit with the football players and past students.”

Life for Chuck and Schari has come full circle.

“Just a side note that I found interesting this morning - I was asking him how long he was at the different schools,” Schari said on Friday. “He was able to answer that correctly by counting football seasons.”

Schari continued.

“If you could have met him, you would have seen a quiet man who desired to bring out the best in his coaches and players and gave them the credit for his success as a coach,” she said. “And of course he had a great drive for success. The schools he went to were not used to success in football.  His drive was to change the football program into a winning program and inspire the students to know they could compete.”

What does Schari think Coach would say to his players if he saw them today?

“He would greet them with a warm handshake and maybe a hug,” she proudly said. “He loved his players.  And he would want to talk about their football seasons, reminisce about specific games, and specific plays they were involved in, as well as the fun, fellowship and experiences as a team.”