JGM Coach

Dick Purnell

Dick Purnell
  • Name: Dick Purnell
  • Class: 2024
  • School: Shikellamy

Dick Purnell is a 1954 graduate of Ashland High School, where he was class valedictorian and earned 13 varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball and track. He went on to attend Susquehanna University and was a four-year letter winner at quarterback, serving as team co-captain in his final two years - earning Little All-American honors as a senior in 1957, and all-state his last two seasons.

Purnell earned his bachelor's degree from Susquehanna in 1958, and a master's degree from Bucknell University in 1967. Following graduation from Susquehanna, he played quarterback for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League for one year. Soon after, he became a mathematics teacher and football coach at the future Shikellamy High School in Sunbury, PA - serving as head coach for 25 years and amassing a 167-94-5 record (.637). He guided teams to two Eastern Conference (1965, 67), four Eastern Conference Southern Division, and nine Susquehanna Valley Conference Championships. His teams won 37-straight regular season games between 1964-68. He was recognized for outstanding and dedicated service to the Eastern Conference in 1987. Purnell became a charter member of Susquehanna's Sports Hall of Fame in 1967. He was also inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, Jerry Wolman Chapter, in 1987, then later into the Pennsylvania High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2004.

He and his wife, Mary Jane, have two sons - Rick and Bill - and five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.