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PREPS: Dallas School District seeks public input on naming of high school gymnasium

Gordon Kunke, coach of 1958 state title basketball team, headlines proposal.

The Dallas School District is reviewing a proposal to name the high school gymnasium after former coach, teacher, principal and superintendent, Gordon Kunke. What do you think? The board is accepting public comment until Feb. 1.

Photo by Nicole Watkins

The Dallas School District is reviewing a proposal to name the high school gymnasium after former coach, teacher, principal and superintendent, Gordon Kunke. What do you think? The board is accepting public comment until Feb. 1.

January 23, 2013

DALLAS -- Gordon Kunke was teaching and coaching in Sherman County in 1949 when he got a tip from a friend that there was a position open at Dallas High School.

He applied, interviewed and got a call with the job offer.

"It only took me a couple seconds to say `yes,'" Kunke said wryly.

Little did he know, the Turner native would end up completing a successful career, raise a family and retire in Dallas.

He's also one of just two basketball coaches to ever win a state title -- the program's first, in 1958 -- in DHS history.

Kunke, 90, still lives in the city with his wife of 60 years, Marian.

"I just liked the small town and thought we had a really good program going," Kunke said of his 64-year stay.

For his contribution to Dallas High athletics, the Dallas School District has received a request to name the DHS gymnasium in Kunke's honor.

Per board policy, the Dallas School Board has created a committee to make a recommendation to the board regarding the request.

The committee will accept public comments regarding the naming of the facility until Feb. 1.

Kunke started at Dallas as a teacher, mainly in the subjects of health and math, and was head varsity boys coach from 1949-1960.

In that time, the Dragons won five conference titles and finished runner-up four times during a nine-year span.

His greatest season was in 1958, when the Dragons defeated St. Francis to capture the 2A state championship.

Kunke retired from coaching in 1960, the same year he became principal, a position he held until 1963, when he joined the school board as the assistant superintendent.

Kunke was promoted to superintendent in 1970, a position he held until 1984, when he retired.

Kunke and his wife have four children -- all graduates of Dallas High and Oregon State University.

Kunke, along with the 1958 state championship basketball team, was inducted into the Dallas Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

The Dallas School District is seeking public comment regarding the naming of the Dallas High School gymnasium. The current proposal is to name the facility after former basketball coach, teacher, principal and superintendent, Gordon Kunke. Comments will be accepted until Feb. 1.

Send comments to Superintendent Christy Perry at 111 SW Ash St., Dallas, OR 97338 or by email to christy.perry@dsd2.org.

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