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Famous Topeka Athletes

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Famous Topeka Athletes
"Buck" Weaver / "Heavy" Erwin
Lee Dodson
Melvin Douglas
Mike Torrez
Patty Dick
Sherman Parks
The Ramblers
Warren Seitz

"Buck" Weaver and "Heavy" Erwin
Steer Students to Glory!

Graduates of Topeka High School from the 1920s to the 1960s are quite familiar with two men, "Buck" Weaver, and D.L. "Heavy" Erwin, two educators and coaches who left indelible marks on Topeka High School and its students.

The two were contemporaries, first as coach and athlete, later as administrator and coach.  They were good friends, and their names will be forever linked as two of the greatest influences within Topeka Public Schools for decades to come.

Ernest Bovard "Buck" Weaver coached football, basketball, and track at Topeka High School in the 20s, 30s, and 40s. His 37-year career was split between coaching and administration. In 1946, he became principal at Topeka High School, a post he held until retiring in 1962.


E.B. Weaver (top right)

Weaver was born in Montrose, Colorado, in 1897, and grew up in southwest Kansas, graduating from Fowler High School. In 1923, he began his teaching and coaching career at Beloit High School before moving to Topeka as football and basketball coach in 1925. 

Dana Erwin in his 20s

He coached football at THS from 1925 to 1943 - coaching Topeka High's first football state championship team in 1932. He coached basketball from 1925 to 1941. His 1932 basketball team was Class "A" state champs. He also coached track from 1925 until 1932. In 1962, Weaver's last year at THS, the school received the Bellamy Award, a flag conferred annually on one outstanding high school in the nation.

Weaver's community involvement wasn't limited to Topeka High. He also headed various civic organizations, and was one of the founders of the Kansas High School Athletic Coaches Association.

Dana L. "Heavy" Erwin was a teacher and coach at Highland Park and Topeka High School who lived in Topeka most of his life. As a high school football player, his coach was "Buck" Weaver. 

Erwin was fond of telling a story about Weaver as a coach. Trailing at halftime in a game that Topeka High was expected to win easily, Weaver followed his team into the locker room. After glancing at the players, he excused himself by saying "Sorry... I thought this was the MEN's locker room."  The message was apparently received by his team, which played much more ferocious (and won) in the second half.

Coach Erwin and his cross-country team

After graduation from Washburn University in 1928, Erwin coached at Winchester High School from 1928 to 1931, then at Osborne High School until 1935. In 1935, he returned to Topeka to coach football and basketball at Highland Park. He coached football, track, and cross country at Topeka High School from 1937 until he retired in 1967.

Erwin was head football coach at Topeka High from 1943-1947. His teams won 27, lost 14, and tied 4 games during his head coaching tenure. His best season was his first in 1943, when his Trojans won 7, lost 1, and tied one. He never had a losing season, although the team won only four games in 1946, along with four losses and one tie.

He was head track coach from 1948 to 1965, and was head cross-country coach from 1951 to 1966. His track team won a state championship in 1956, and his cross-country teams won state championships in 1950, 1952, and 1953. Mr. Erwin received the John P. Snyder Sportsman of the Year Award in 1966.

"Heavy" retired from teaching and coaching after the 1966-67 school year. "Buck" Weaver died in 1973 at the age of 76. Erwin died in 1980 at the age of 75.

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