Gordon Straley

was a physical education, driver education and health teacher and football coach from 1940-1975. He also served as Athletic Director from 1946-1980 for West Lafayette High School; the high school football field is named in his honor. He is thought to hold the longest tenure as a head football coach at one high school (32 years) in Indiana. Coach Straley won or tied for Hoosier Conference Championship 3 of 4 years after the conference recognized football participation as a conference sport, starting in 1972. He served as an assistant coach for the North All-Star football team in 1974. His teams played and defeated many schools 2 or 3 times larger as West Lafayette’s enrollment was less than 400 prior to 1960. Coach Straley’s teams ranked in the top ten three or four times prior to the time when state football play-offs were initiated in Indiana.

Coach Straley was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame on April 30, 1977. He played football for Fort Wayne South High School where he was All-City tackle and captain his senior year. He graduated from Purdue University in 1939, playing football for the Boilermakers for 2 years and earning his MS in 1947. He served four years in the U.S. Army from 1942-1945. The Gordon Straley Memorial Scholarship was established in his memory and is awarded each year to a WLHS male or female student athlete or manager who excels in scholarship, leadership, athletics, and character.