Gisel Had Blue Dragons At The Top
As Player And Coach
Richard “Dick” Gisel truly knows what it means to be a Blue Dragon.
Growing up just north of Hutchinson, Gisel went to Blue Dragon games as a youngster.
He played both basketball and football for the Blue Dragons.
He was an assistant coach for Quarterback Club Hall of Famer Gene Keady.
He was the head coach of the storied Blue Dragon program, taking the Blue Dragons to No. 1 in the NJCAA polls in 1975 and to an eighth-place NJCAA Tournament finish.
And now, Dick Gisel is a member of the Hutchinson Quarterback Club Hall of Fame Class of 2015.
“It started off pretty naïve back in 1956,” Gisel recalled. “There was a lot of history there and he gave me a chance to play and I wanted to play pretty badly.
“As you go on along on your lifetime, you look for ways to better yourself. Those two years coming out of high school, it was a good training ground for me. I got to explore things I never got to before.”
After graduating from Buhler High School in 1956, Gisel was offered to walk on to the Blue Dragon men’s basketball team by Hall of Fame coach Charles Sesher. The 1957 Blue Dragons didn’t win Region VI, but were a special invitee to the NJCAA Tournament. Gisel helped Sesher’s final Hutchinson team finish 21-7 and finish fifth in the 1957 NJCAA Tournament.
Playing for another Hall of Famer, Sam Butterfield, in 1958, Gisel led Hutchinson to a three-way conference championship and a Region VI title. That Blue Dragon team finished eighth in the national tournament and Gisel was named to the All-Tournament team.
“We won the region at Dodge City,” Gisel said. “We were down three points with 30 seconds to go and we came back and won by one. We were a team that ran a lot and scored a lot of points. I never thought I would be named to the all-tournament team.”
While at student at Hutchinson, Gisel joined the Blue Dragon football team and played defensive back in 1957.
Gisel went onto the University of Kansas to play for the Jayhawks and started the final 12 games of his KU career.
With his playing days over, Gisel turned to teaching and coaching, a path that eventually led him back to Reno County. First to Buhler High School and then back to the Sports Arena as a Blue Dragon assistant coach starting in 1966.
As an assistant under Keady, Gisel coached some of the greatest Blue Dragons of all time – Stan Blackmon, Richard Morsden, Teko Wynder and Rudy Jackson just to name a few. HutchCC was enjoying unprecedented success under Keady and Gisel, winning six Jayhawk Conference titles, five Region VI championships and a total of 235 games in an eight-year span.
Before the 1974-75 season, Keady moved on and Gisel was promoted to become the fifth head coach in Blue Dragon men’s basketball history. Gisel posted a four-year record of 84-38, winning three Jayhawk Conference titles and one Region VI crown.
Gisel’s best team was his first in the 1974-75 season. The season started with a 24-game winning streak – still a Blue Dragon men’s basketball record – and along the way Hutchinson climbed to No. 1 in the NJCAA poll. That team finished 32-3, won the Jayhawk Conference and Region VI, but was upset in the opening round of the national tournament and finished eighth.
“Keady left a pretty good nucleus for that first team I coached,” Gisel said. “I was proud of that team. They did a lot of things well and we scored a lot of points.”
Gisel retired in 1994 after 32 years in education.