Al Kircher

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Al Kircher
Sport(s) Football, basketball, baseball
Biographical details
Born (1909-12-05)December 5, 1909
Turtle Lake, Wisconsin
Died November 1, 2004(2004-11-01) (aged 94)
Salem, Oregon
Playing career
1931–1933 Michigan State
Position(s) Quarterback (football),
Guard (basketball),
Outfielder (baseball)
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Football
1939–1949
1950–1951
1952–1955

Basketball
1939–1949
1949–1950

Baseball
1940–1950

Michigan State (assistant)
Washington State (backfield)
Washington State


Michigan State (assistant)
Michigan State


Michigan State (assistant)
Head coaching record
Overall 13–25–2 (football)
4–18 (basketball)
Statistics

Alton S. "Al" Kircher (December 5, 1909 – November 1, 2004)[1] was an American football, basketball, and baseball player and coach.[2]

Early years[edit]

Born in Turtle Lake, Wisconsin, Kircher grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in Gladstone. He was a star athlete at Gladstone High School and then attended Michigan State College in East Lansing,[3] where he earned nine letters in football, basketball, and baseball for the Spartans.[4][5] Kircher was the quarterback on the football team and the captain of the basketball team.[6] An outfielder in baseball, he had a batting average of .430 (37 for 86) in 1933.[7]

Coaching career[edit]

Kircher began his coaching career in Michigan at Trout Creek High School in 1935 as the basketball coach, and won two state titles (class D), in 1935 and 1937.[8][9] Kircher moved to Marquette in 1937 and coached at Marquette High School (Graveraet).

Kircher returned to his alma mater, Michigan State, as an assistant coach in three sports from 1939 to 1950, and was head basketball coach for 1949–50 season.[1][4] During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army and was wounded during the Normandy invasion, earning a Purple Heart. He was later awarded a Silver Star and two Bronze Stars.[3][10]

When fellow Spartan assistant Forest Evashevski was hired as the head football coach at Washington State College of the Pacific Coast Conference in 1950,[11] Kircher followed him west and joined his staff in Pullman as backfield coach.[4] In Evashevski's second season in 1951, the Cougars were 7–3, their best record since 1932. Evashevski left for Iowa of the Big Ten Conference in January 1952 and Kircher planned to go east with him,[12] but was promoted and stayed on the Palouse as the 20th head coach of the Cougar football program.[4][13]

Kircher's Cougars were 4–6 in each of his first three seasons, but fell to 1–7–2 in 1955 and he was fired days after the final game, a loss to rival Washington.[14][15][16][17] His overall record for four seasons was 13 wins, 25 losses, and 2 ties (.350). As of the conclusion of the 2007 season, this ranks him 12th at Washington State in total wins and 26th in winning percentage (.350).[18]

After coaching[edit]

Kircher was relieved of his head coaching duties in November 1955 with a year remaining on his five-year contract, at $12,500 per year.[14][15][16] He opted to stay in Pullman and acquired a motel-restaurant, the Hilltop Lodge, in early 1956.[5][19][20] He and his family operated it for nearly two decades, then moved to Las Vegas and later to Salem, Oregon.[10][21]

Death[edit]

Kircher died in 2004 at a nursing home in Salem, several weeks before his 95th birthday.[10][21]

Honors and awards[edit]

Kircher was inducted into the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in Michigan in 1985.[9] He was added to the Gladstone High School hall of fame in 2013.[3]

Head coaching record[edit]

College football[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Washington State Cougars (Pacific Coast Conference) (1952–1955)
1952 Washington State 4–6 3–4 5th
1953 Washington State 4–6 3–4 5th
1954 Washington State 4–6 3–4 5th
1955 Washington State 1–7–2 1–5–1 T–7th
Washington State: 13–25–2 10–17–1
Total: 13–25–2

College basketball[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Michigan State Spartans (Independent) (1949–1950)
1949–50 Michigan State 4–18
Michigan State: 4–18 (.182)
Total: 4–18 (.182)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Former Cougar Grid Coach Kircher Passes Away". Washington State University Athletics. December 8, 2004. Retrieved April 1, 2009. 
  2. ^ Vautier, Mike (November 19, 1954). "Life, times of Al Kircher". WSC Daily Evergreen. p. 4. 
  3. ^ a b c "Gladstone High School announces 2013 Athletic Hall of Fame class". Daily Press (Escanaba, Michigan). August 20, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Al Kircher accepts Washington State football post". Seattle Daily Chronicle. January 15, 1952. p. 13. 
  5. ^ a b Boni, Bill (August 2, 1960). "When Kircher scored all the points". Spokesman-Review. p. 2. 
  6. ^ "Basketball: media guide" (PDF). Michigan State University Athletics. 2014. p. 152. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Baseball: record book" (PDF). Michigan State University Athletics. 2014. p. 17. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Boys Basketball Champions 1925-2014". Michigan High School Athletic Association. Retrieved October 7, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame
  10. ^ a b c "Former Washington State coach Al Kircher dies". ESPN. Associated Press. December 8, 2004. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 
  11. ^ "It's official! Washington State names Evashevski to head grid job". Spokesman-Review. January 31, 1950. p. 15. 
  12. ^ "Evy to receive $15,000 at Iowa". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. January 11, 1952. p. 8. 
  13. ^ "Kircher accepts head football position at Washington State on 5-year basis". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. January 16, 1952. p. 8. 
  14. ^ a b "WSC may revise policy on gridiron contracts". Seattle Daily Chronicle. November 22, 1955. p. 19. 
  15. ^ a b Boni, Bill (November 23, 1955). "WSC opens coach hunt". Spokesman-Review. p. 15. 
  16. ^ a b "Cougars fire Kircher after miserable year". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. November 22, 1955. p. 3B. 
  17. ^ Miami Herald Washington State University all-time football records
  18. ^ Washington State Cougars coaching records
  19. ^ "Kircher to run Pullman motel". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. January 26, 1956. p. 17. 
  20. ^ "Kircher has more at 'steak' now". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. March 13, 1956. p. 4, part 2. 
  21. ^ a b Smith, Craig (December 8, 2004). "Notebook: Former WSU coach Kircher, 95, dies". Seattle Times. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 

External links[edit]