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Snyder Family/Sunflower Chapter of NFF recognize Kansas football mentors

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McGuire, Schartz, Wier, Darr Honored for Contributions to High School Football in the State of Kansas

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The Coach Bill Snyder Family/Sunflower Chapter of the National Football Foundation has announced its special recognition awards for the 2022-23 academic year. 

Cunningham head coach Lance McGuire and Manhattan head coach Joe Schartz were named the Don Fambrough Coaches of the Year. The legendary late Kansas head football coach, Fambrough was also a member of the Jayhawks’ 1947 Orange Bowl team.
McGuire resurrected Cunnigham football after it was forced to combine with other programs for three seasons. In its first season as a six-man program, the Wildcats went 0-6, but are 28-3 in the last three seasons. Cunningham went 12-0 this year, defeating Ashland 38-16 to win the state title. Schartz led Manhattan to the 6A title, defeating Gardner-Edgerton, 21-20 to cap a 13-0 campaign. It was the Indians’ first title since 1988. In his 14 years as head coach, he is 120-29 and has been Centennial League champs 12 of 14 years.

Gene Wier, who coached 34 seasons at Olathe North and Richland (Texas) high schools,was selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award. He is currently serving as an assistant coach at Mill Valley High School. In his first 22-year stint at Olathe, he was 188-36 with six Kansas Class 6A titles. In the last seven years before he moved to Texas, the Eagles were 96-6.

Taylor Darr of Wichita, Kan., has been selected to receive the John and Phil Laurie Officiating Award. Darr has moved up quickly since first officiating as a student in 2016 in the Kansas State University intramural program. She has officiated in the KJCCC, KCAC and MIAA conferences. She is the first female to officiate in the MIAA.

“Truly accomplished individuals, we are happy to recognize them for their excellence,” founding chapter board member Bernie Kish said. “Our youth need the support of engaged leaders and we are fortunate to have so many top-notch individuals in the state of Kansas. Our honorees represent the cream of the crop.”

They will be honored at the annual Coach Bill Snyder Family/Sunflower Chapter of the National Football Foundation awards dinner conducted May 10 in Manhattan.

Sponsors of the chapter and its activities include Dillons Food Stores, Bill Geiger and the Geiger Foundation, Jim Schroeder and Great Western Manufacturing, Joe and Brady Flannery and Weaver's Department Store, and John and Phil Laurie.

About the Coach Bill Snyder Family/Sunflower Chapter NFF
The Kansas Chapter received its National Football Foundation Charter Nov. 25, 1991 at halftime ceremonies of the Kansas-Missouri football game. It then evolved into the Jayhawk Chapter and later transitioned to the Sunflower Chapter This year, it was renamed the Coach Bill Snyder Family Sunflower Chapter. Its mission is to recognize outstanding high school seniors who excel on the gridiron, in the classroom and as leaders in their schools and communities. More than 300 high school football players from the state of Kansas have been honored by the chapter since its inception in 1991.

About the National Football Foundation
Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl "Red" Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, the National Football Foundation (NFF) is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people.

About the NFF Chapter Network
The NFF Chapter Network, spread across 120 outposts in 47 states, serves as the pulse of a nationwide effort to encourage leadership, sportsmanship and academic excellence among America’s young football players. The first meeting to discuss the formation of chapters was held by the Cincinnati Club in 1954, and today more than 12,000 passionate members carry on the legacy of the early pioneers, which is simply to Build Leaders Through Football. Collectively, they host more than 300 events each year, reaching more than 500,000 football players at 5,000 high schools.

Coach Bill Snyder Family/Sunflower Chapter National Football Foundation / PO Box 3015 / Lawrence, Kan. 66046 / 785-864-0703