Vignettes about Events & People


Dan Kahler was the winningest men's basketball coach in school history.

Dan Kahler

In seven seasons as men’s basketball coach at then-Arkansas City Junior College, Dan Kahler guided the Tigers to a remarkable run of conference and regional championships and appearances in the national tournament. It’s a stretch that has never been duplicated in the history of Tiger basketball.


Kahler was head coach of the Tigers from 1952 until 1959. During that time, his teams won 170 games and lost just 49, a .776 winning percentage. Besides Barney Getto’s 6-2 mark (.750) in 1943, no other coach comes close to Kahler’s amazing record. Some statistics from the Kahler years: He coached three players who are among Cowley’s top 10 career scoring leaders in No. 1 Del Heidebrecht (two seasons 1956-58), No. 6 Ray Potter Sr. (one season 1952-53), and No. 8 Sonny Maynard (two seasons 1955-1957).


He coached three players among Cowley’s top 10 single-season scoring leaders in Heidebrecht twice, No. 3 all-time with 723 points during the 1957-58 season, and No. 10 all-time with 600 points during the 1956-57 season, and Potter, No. 6 all-time with 666 points during the 1952-53 season. He coached 13 All-Americans.


He guided the Tigers to the most wins in a single season in school history with 29 during his first season, 1952-53. In each of his first six seasons, the Tigers won at least 24 games and captured the Jayhawk Conference Western Division title. Kahler guided ACJC to the Region VI championship in 1953, 1954, 1955, and 1957. And he led the Tigers to the national tournament four times: Second place in 1953, seventh in 1954, third in 1955, and eighth in 1957.


Known by those close to him as the "Silver Fox," Kahler was honored Nov. 12, 2002, during "Dan Kahler Night" in W.S. Scott Auditorium. The floor was dedicated in his honor and is now known as Dan Kahler Court. Kahler was one of the first 10 people inducted into the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame in February 2000, and he continues to support the Hall of Fame and what it stands for. While Kahler was an outstanding basketball coach, he also was a well-respected educator in the classroom.


Besides serving as head basketball and assistant football coach, Kahler taught english and had a major impact on ACJC students. He has won numerous accolades for his work in education. He has served as a graduate school professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Oct. 4, 1996, was proclaimed as "DK Day" in Clay County, Missouri. That same year, he had the North Kansas City Schools Education Foundation name its grants "The Dan Kahler Teacher Grants." He received the "Missouri Mentor" award in 1995 for influencing more than 8,000 beginning teachers as keynote speaker of the Missouri Beginning Teacher Conference. He was the first recipient of the Maxey Dupree Award, better known as the "Kindest Kansas Citian" in 1991, and he won the Greater Kansas City Teacher of the Year award in 1988.


Closer to Cowley County, Kahler earned 15 letters at Southwestern College and was inducted into SWC’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993. He played for the United States in the fall of 1950 in the first-ever World Championship Basketball Tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina. And he capped his Southwestern playing career as an All-American in football and basketball and playing in Madison Square Garden in the East-West All-Star Game.


Following his coaching career at ACJC, Kahler became principal at Arkansas City High School in 1959. He moved to Lawrence in 1963 and served as principal two years. While in Lawrence, he served as analyst and interviewer for the University of Kansas Sports Network for more than a decade in football and basketball and at the KU Relays. Kahler resides in Kansas City, Mo., with his wife, Violet.


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