Longtime Parsons coach Don Barcus passes away

Local Sports

PARSONS, Kan. — “It’s a great day for football.”

A Parsons coaching icon has passed away.

Former coach and educator Don Barcus had been battling pancreatic cancer for the past year.

A football and track and field coach, Barcus coached in Parsons for 40 years. He also coached for a time in Erie. He coached a number of players, including former Parsons head football coach Kurt Friess.

“Intense, but overly positive,” Friess said. “Somehow he found a way to connect with every kid, be it in the classroom or on the football field. His work ethic is legendary.”

When Friess became the head football coach at Parsons in 2018, he knew to reach out to Barcus.

“He was so knowledgeable and so well read. For Viking football for the longest time, coach and I could tell you, we played great defense because of Don Barcus. Then on the track, he was a state championship coach. He can coach any sport, he can coach any skill in track, and at the same time can sit down and talk to you about the books he’s read. Not a football coach alone. He was special.”

The Parsons football team wore helmet stickers with Barcus’ initials, DB, last season. They celebrated Don Barcus Night in last season’s opener. They won that game, 55-48, in five overtimes.

Friess said Barcus impact will long be felt in the Vikings community.

“You heard it here first. Make that Don Barcus Field. Just, excuse me, I don’t feel prepared to speak for what Don did for people. Everything you are supposed to be, that’s who he was.”

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