Richard Persinger 

Graduation Year: 1957
Induction Year: 2015
In the Marion Giant Athletic Hall of Fame

Richard Persinger, Marion High School Class of 1957, was a longtime coach and administrator at Marion High School, helping shape the lives of thousands of young Giants.
Dick first became well known in Marion as a young athlete, attracting attention on the basketball court and on the baseball field long before he got to MHS. He continued to excel in those sports, earning the Giants their first NCC title in baseball in his senior year. He then went on to play baseball at Indiana University while earning his education degree.
After graduating from Indiana University in 1962, he returned to Marion to teach and coach. He began his career at Washington Junior High School, then went on to spend decades at Marion High School. He taught health and physical education, and he also served as assistant basketball coach under Jack Colescott during the 1960s when Marion Giants basketball began its return to greatness, concluding in back-to-back State Finals appearances in 1968 and ’69. Dick also coached the Giants baseball team in the 1960s and led them to their first State Finals appearance in 1968.
In 1970, Dick became dean of boys at Marion High School. He later served as assistant principal, and in 1976 he was named principal of MHS. His 10-year tenure in that position marked a golden era at MHS, at the time one of the largest, most vibrant, and most accomplished schools in the state, with the trailblazing Ritchie Walton leading the way in the arts, and the legendary Bill Green leading the Giants to numerous state basketball titles.
But the heart of what Dick Persinger achieved as principal of MHS is not measured in trophies or even academic awards. As principal, he made a tremendous positive impact in the lives of thousands of students. And he did it largely in a one-on-one manner, relating to students as individuals. He was the kind of principal more likely to be found in the hallways, cafeteria, or classroom, rather than his office.
He eventually went on to serve as director of personnel for the Marion Community Schools district and then served for many years as a Marion City Council member. He also served on numerous civic boards and commissions. He is indeed “Mr. Marion” and “Mr. Marion High School”, representing the best that MHS and the city of Marion have to give.

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