As if there hasn't been enough nastalgia the last three years. LHS graduate Ryan Cornelsen has coached HHS three times against Liberal in football and brought his state champion track team to Liberal for a regional meet. Cornelsen returned to the place he grew up and helped Liberal win football and track championships and certainly memories flooded back to him and Redskin fans. Plus, the younger Cornelsen possesses many of the mannerisms of legendary former LHS coach Gary Cornelsen. That made Redskin fans really blink their eyes. Ryan is proving to be a chip off the old block with a 23-7 record at Hays after going 53-13 at Lacrosse. His HHS track team has won three straight state track titles.
Friday night will be even more strange. Gary Cornelsen, who was 12-1 against Hays, is assisting the Indians this fall so that means he will coach against his former program Friday night in Hays. Gary Cornelsen is coaching special teams, quarterbacks, and defensive ends and is otherwise retired. The Texhoma native still resides in Amarillo but is staying in Hays during the football season. He will return to Amarillo after the season and may even coach track this spring at Tascosa.
It is safe to say his accomplishments will never be matched. Gary Cornelsen was the head coach for 28 of Liberal's 35 state championships. He coached the LHS boys track and field teams to a dizzying 14 consecutive state titles from 1991-2004 and the girls won 10 of 11 state championships from 1994-2004 (Salina Central won state in 2002). His football Redskins won state four times in 1992, 1994, 1995, and 1997. They went to seven straight state championship games from 1991-1997. His record from 1991-2001 and 2003 was 118-17. Last fall, the sports complex in Liberal was named after Cornelsen.
The Sportsguys caught up with Cornelsen. Click on the audio icon to hear the interview.