The Centre and Herington communities are still reeling from news of the death last week of Burdette “Bud” Peterson of Burdick. He died Friday after a brief illness.
Peterson was a graduate of Centre High School and was an instructor there for 24 years. He coached football, served as athletic director, and taught history, including classes over the TEEN network through Butler Community College. Others have said he regarded performance in the classroom as important as performance as an athlete.
After his retirement from Centre in 2006, Bud taught and coached at Council Grove High School. At the time of his death, he was beginning his second year as the head football coach at Herington High School. He also was serving on the USD 397 board of education.
Glenn Carlson of Burdick grew up with Bud. They spent a lot of time together doing things such as fishing and stacking small square bales on the farm. Each served as the other’s best man when they married.
“Bud touched the lives of many young people,” Carlson said. “I couldn’t have had a better friend. He and his wife, Maureen, were always there for us, through the good and the bad.”
Bud took a keen interest in the lives of others, especially World War II veterans, and recorded interviews with them on video tapes.
During his years as football coach at CHS, he compiled a record of 192-97. The highlight of his career came in 1997 when his team won the 1A state championship. He was named Kansas Coach of the Year in 2005.
Greg Wyatt of Lost Springs was a fellow teacher and coach.
“Bud was always an optimist as he always saw the good in people,” Wyatt said. “No matter if it was coaching football or teaching in the classroom, Bud wanted the best from his students. Bud not only taught the subject material, or how the game was to be played, but he also taught kids life lessons — to show good character, to be responsible for your actions, and accept consequences if need be.
“Bud was a very caring person and, as we all know, he wasn’t afraid to show his emotions! He was always there to help not only a student, but a colleague, friend, or community or family member. He truly will be missed.”
The 61-year-old coach was on his way to establishing another winning football team when he died. On Sept. 2, he led the Herington Railers to a season-opening 33-22 victory over Osage City, breaking a 15-game losing streak.
According to The Herington Times, “players were leaping into the air, parents were crying, and the cheering was prolonged.”
“I’m really happy for the team and the community,” Bud had said. “It was a good win. We needed it.”
Now, HHS will be looking for a new coach.
KSN, Channel 3 TV, Wichita, aired a segment on Peterson on Saturday’s 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.
Classes were canceled today at Centre High School. Funeral services were at 10 a.m. in the Centre High School gymnasium. People were expected to come from near and far to remember and pay their last respects to a man who had endeared himself to so many.