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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
  • Four inducted to Crusader Wall of Recognition

  • Wellington High School’s Wall of Recognition is taking shape as four new members were added Thursday night at the school. There was a full day of activities for the two that could attend. Ernie Barrett and Charles Wallace were on hand and inducted. Joe Seay was unable to attend due to health reasons, and Dort Clark passed away in 1989.
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  • Wellington High School’s Wall of Recognition is taking shape as four new members were added Thursday night at the school. There was a full day of activities for the two that could attend. Ernie Barrett and Charles Wallace were on hand and inducted. Joe Seay was unable to attend due to health reasons, and Dort Clark passed away in 1989.
    The Wall of Recognition is intended to honor those that had a big impact on Wellington High School, and on the town as well. Most have been sports related so far, but it is not meant to be only for sports.
    Organizers said they are always looking for suggestions as to who to honor.
    Most are also Wellington natives and most have retired.
    Charles Wallace is the exception to both of those. He grew up in Pennsylvania and is still coaching the Crusader cross country and track programs. Wallace has been coaching at the school for 40 or more years, and 11 years ago stopped teaching in the classroom.
    He said he feels more relaxed after giving up classroom duties. He plans to keep coaching “as long as my health holds up.”
    He said he enjoys working with high school kids. The biggest difference between today and when he started coaching is the many more options students have today.
    “Today you have to recruit kids, show them the value of sports. There are so many more things for them to do now. When I played, and when I started coaching, you just announced practice and 30 kids would show up,” he said.
    Wallace attended Ottawa University in Kansas, and got his masters at Emporia State. He began coaching in 1966 in Wellington, and met his wife, Brenda here.  He and his wife raised two daughters in Wellington.
    He coached a lot of different sports, but cross country and track have been the ones he has coached most.
    He has coached both individuals and teams to championships, but the thing he likes most is helping students be as good as they can be.
    “I have been blessed with great athletes. Sometimes you have great athletes, and sometimes they are more average,” he said.
    Wallace said being added to the Wall of Recognition has been a great experience. He is the first one who was not a Wellington graduate.
    Ernie Barrett is perhaps one of the most famous of the inductees to date. He led Wellington to its only state basketball championship in 1947, and went on to  play in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, and then a long career in coaching. He has had a major impact on Kansas State, and recently retired as their director of fundraising.
    Page 2 of 3 - Barrett said Thursday, NBA salaries were nothing like what they are today, when he played. He entered the league in the early 50s and earned $7,000 his first year. In his third season he was up to $13,000, and decided to go into coaching where he could make a better living.
    He was an assistant coach at K-State originally, and went on to hold many positions with the school. He is known and “Mr. K-State” and has a statue in his honor outside of Bramlage Coliseum. He is a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, and his jersey has been retired and hangs at the coliseum.
    Even with all these honors, being named to the Wellington Wall of Recognition, is a special thing , he said Thursday.
    “It is an honor to be selected for this. It is something for a kid who didn’t know if he would graduate,” he said jokingly.
    “I marvel at the new high school. I think this is the third one since the time I played,” he said.
    In 1947 they had a great team that won the state title. They attended high school in what is now called the old junior high, and most of their games were played at Memorial Auditorium.
    “There was more room there. We had a good crowd because we had a great team. We had a great 10-man team,” he said.
    They also worked very hard in practice, he said.
    “Our coach, John Floyd, coached us hard. We played hard defense. We needed that,” he said. “We ran a basic motion offense and played great defense.”
    Floyd had coached under the legendary Henry Iba at Oklahoma State, and defense was the focus of the team.
    Barrett said the game was not as physical or as fast as it is today, but he said he felt like they played better defense in his day.
    Joe Seay graduated in 1958 and won the all classes state title in wrestling for Wellington. He wrestled at K-State, and was a long time coach in California. His teams compiled a 177-12-2 record and he was named national coach of the year. He also coached Cal State Bakersfield to seven NCAA Division II national titles.
    He coached Oklahoma State from 1985 to 1992 and compiled a 114-8-2 record with two national championships. He also coached the USA team to a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics.
    Dort Clark was a 1935 graduate of Wellington High School. He was involved in theater and glee club at Wellington and went on to an outstanding career in acting.
    Page 3 of 3 - He was one of the pioneers of television, His first professional role was in 1948. In 50 years of acting he appeared in many shows from the 50s thorugh the 80s.
    Some of his many appearances to his credit are on Car 54, The Donna Reed Show, The Virginian, The Fugitive, The Munsters, Perry Mason, Gun Smoke, The Monkey’s, Bewitched, The Partridge Family, The Mary Tyler More Show and also the soap opera General Hospital and many more.
    Clark’s had many stage appearances as well.  Some of his Broadway plays included Arsenic and Old Lace, Sweet Charity and Rogers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.
    On the screen Clark appeared in Kiss of Death with Victor Mature and Karl Malden, Never Love a Stranger with Steve McQueen, Skin Game with James Garner, In Harms Way with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas and Everything You Ever Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask with Woody Allen.
    After retiring, he moved back to Wellington and lived here until his death in 1989.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

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