McPherson’s Dave Larson is perfectly content with working behind the scenes.
But Larson’s hard work, which goes mostly unnoticed by the casual observer, is going to be brought to the forefront in June when he’ll receive the Clint Hill Service Award during the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Week at Salina.
Hill was a longtime Canton-Galva administrator who was the first executive director of the KBCA. His son, Brad, was a star athlete at C-G and now the head baseball coach at Kansas State University.
Larson is what the Hill award is all about.
He serves as “sporting events coordinator” at McPherson High, dating back to the 1989-90 school year.
The Roundhouse is Larson’s personal project. He sets up for all the MHS basketball games and keeps the Roundhouse floor so clean you would be hard-pressed to find even the most remote speck of dust on it.
Larson also puts out the towels for the teams and then washes them after the games.
Not only does he set up for basketball, but he also helps out at all other MHS home sporting events, such as football, soccer, baseball and softball.
Larson’s longtime contributions have earned him a spot on the MHS Wall of Fame as a contributor.
He’s a 1968 McPherson High graduate who later served in the Marine Corps. He worked for BPU before retiring.
Larson is tremendously devoted to MHS and is a Bullpup through and through.
“It’s long hours. I do it for the kids,” the humble Larson said. “I love the kids and love the sports.”
Larson missed the McPherson Invitational this year due to health reasons, but had seen every one since 1971. He still marvels at players like Nino Samuel of Salina Central and Darnell Valentine of Wichita Heights, who played in the 1970s, as well as long list of McPherson High players who have helped make the Bullpup program what it is.
He also said he’s been fortunate to have been associated with the only three coaches MHS has had since he was in high school — Jay Frazier, Mike Henson and Kurt Kinnamon.
“The Kinnamons, they’ve been like family to me,” Larson said.
“No one cares more about the Roundhouse than Dave Larson,” Kinnamon said. “He recognizes the importance of the Roundhouse to the community and he takes great pride in making it a showpiece. I have seen Dave at all hours of the day and night on his scrubber making sure the floor is in pristine condition for a game. It is a fond memory of Dave actually wet mopping the floor before the finals of the McPherson Invitational. It takes a lot of time and elbow grease to do that. Dave is like the old adage, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing right. You can see the pride on his face and he certainly does it right. Our players look forward to the kind words that they receive from Dave before every home game. The Invitational Tournament was not the same this year without Dave being there.”
MHS Athletic Director Shane Backhus says you can’t put a price tag on what Larson has meant to the school.
“We are very lucky to have a man like Dave Larson who wants to be part of our programs,” Backhus said. “His contributions to all of our teams and events is invaluable, and often overlooked by those that do not understand what he does for MHS purely because he loves the Bullpups and cares about the kids that participate.”
Backhus said Larson epitomizes what the honor is about.
“Dave is a true Bullpup and is a big part of the accomplishments of our student-athletes,” Backhus said. “MHS is a better place because Dave Larson gives so much of his time and efforts. We all owe him a big thank you and there is no one more deserving of this honor.”