SFT Head Coach Jayson Duncan presents Bob Von Stein with a
T-shirt and plaque at Friday’s dedication ceremony.
Jeremy Gaston | Sports Editor
Just nine years after he stepped off for the final time as head
coach of the Santa Fe Trail Chargers football team, Bob Von Stein
was called to the field he coached on for 25 years and honored with
its dedication in his name.
Prior to Friday night’s football game, the former coach was
presented by first-year head coach Jayson Duncan, a former player
and understudy of Von Stein.
“That was an extreme honor,” Duncan said. “When
they asked me to do that, I was excited. He’s a guy I respect
a lot. After my grandparents and dad, he’s the next on the
The presentation was preceded by the placement of an engraved stone
sign at the entrance to the field before the start of the school
year. For Von Stein, the reunion, in many ways, outweighed the honor.
“It was nice that everyone came back. It was good to see a
lot of people I hadn’t seen in a long time,” Von Stein
said. “It was a ‘take your breath away moment.’”
Dozens of former players had joined Von Stein on the field as he
was presented Friday night.
“It’s nice to see people going on and being successful
and raising families,” Von Stein said. “I think it was
good for the people that came back to see each other as well.”
Von Stein still isn’t big on the limelight of the experience,
but the teams he coached drew plenty of attention. He began his
career in Olpe in the fall of 1968, and spent two years as an assistant
coach before taking over the Eagles program. As head coach of the
team, he carried a 58-11 record through seven seasons with three
playoff appearances, including a runner-up finish in 1975.
Von Stein began his career at SFT in 1977. He started over with
a 1-8 season, turning around the record to an 8-1 finish in 1980
and a state championship appearance the following year. His teams
made nine more playoff appearances over the next 20 years.
Von Stein retired after 25 seasons, following the 2001-02 school
year. At that time, he’d amassed a 173-71 record at SFT, and
a 231-82 record as a head coach.
“He’s done a lot, not just for SFT football, but for
the SFT community,” Duncan said.
At the April 26 USD 434 Board of Education meeting, the district
approved designation of SFTHS football field as Coach Von Stein
Field, and signage to reflect the designation.
Patrick Graham, athletic director at SFTHS, indicated the designation
had been talked about for several years, and that they wanted to
do it sooner, rather than later.
“We knew we wanted to do something when he would be available
to participate,” Graham said. “He was very humbled.”
The presentation was followed by a lackluster performance on the
field, as the Chargers picked up their 30th-straight loss, but both
Duncan and Von Stein remain positive about the future of football
“After the game, he gave me his lucky sweatshirt,” Duncan
said. “Maybe that’ll have a little luck for us, maybe
put us over the top.”
Duncan regularly turns to Von Stein for advice with the team.
“He just wants to see SFT be successful,” Duncan said.
“Just get back to his every day stuff. He’s not a showman,
he’s just an old coach, and was very good at what he did.
“I think anytime you name the field after someone, they’ve
got to be pretty special,” Duncan said.