Legendary football coach says 'goodbye' to BV

A once in a life-time opportunity.

In 25-year football head coach Steve Rampy’s opinion, that’s what Pittsburg State University offered him at the end of last semester.

Rampy is the new Offensive Coordinator for the PSU Gorillas, as well as their future recruiter for the Kansas City area.  

“I feel rejuvenated,” Rampy said. “It’s a challenge every day, going and learning new things.”

He plans to continue to use the same coaching style at PSU that he did at BV—a style he believes provides a challenge to his players and coaches.

“I’m a demanding guy,” he said. “I think I demand a lot of effort from kids and a lot of commitment from kids. I have high expectations for all the players and coaches around me, but they’re never higher than what I’m willing to ask from myself.”

The reasonable-but-high expectations Rampy had for the athletes at BV will transition to the players at PSU as well. 

Rampy coached the Tigers to win 5A State Championships in 1991, 1998, 2003 and 2006, as well as four state runner-up finishes.

“I’ll never ask my assistants to do something I wasn’t willing to do,” he said. “I’ve never asked a player to do something I wasn’t willing to do. I think that is important.”

Athletic Director Bob Whitehead agrees that Rampy’s demanding coaching style helps emphasize strong fundamentals in players, makes athletes work hard during the season and off-season and results in a staff that works together well. 

Whitehead noted that in the last 15 years the football team had very few coaching position changes. 

“I have a lot of respect for what he was able to accomplish,” Whitehead said. “He did what every coach wants to do when they start out.”

After teaching at BV for 29 years, Rampy still holds true to the fact that the words ‘coach’ and ‘teacher’ go hand in hand.

“I’ve always believed, and still do, that good coaches are good teachers first,” he said.

Rampy said he doesn’t expect the fundamentals of the BV football program to change even though he is no longer the head coach.

“I hope that people will understand, I wasn’t the program, I was only a part of the program,” he said. “There’s no reason for things to change. The goals and expectations we had for ourselves, that stuff should continue. 

It wasn’t about me, it’s about our community, our players, assistant coaches, everybody. I was just a part of that.”

Rampy said whoever will fill the head coaching job needs to balance adding something new to the program with maintaining the tradition of the football team.

“[Tradition] is one of the most important things Blue Valley has,” he said. “It’s a special place on Friday nights and whoever the coach is has to embrace that. Don’t shy away from the community because the support in the community is unbelievable.”

Whitehead also said the way football brings the entire school together is something unique to Blue Valley.

“We feel like this is somewhat a community school,” Whitehead said. “A lot of kids go to the games instead of going to the movies. That doesn’t go on at every school.”

Rampy’s sons, BV graduates Zach and Luke Rampy, are very supportive of their dad’s decision to go to Pitt State. 

“Of all the people involved here, my sons have been the most excited,” he said. “They’re pretty happy for me.”

Rampy will coach in games against Emporia State University where his son Luke is a wide receiver. 

“I’ll want them to do well, but I’ll want our team to win,” he said. “They’re the most important to me, this is just my job.”

No matter where Rampy goes from here though, his life will always center around the three factors.

“There are three really strong things in my life that I care about: my faith, my family and football,” he said. 

“This is an opportunity to work on one of the greatest institutions of football there is in the United States, so it was an opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime thing I couldn’t have passed up.”

by Caitlin Holland