Gene Bissell graduated from Heidelberg College in 1949 after only three years on College Hill. It seemed like a lot longer to Heidelberg football opponents however.
A defensive tackle and punter during the first three seasons of the Paul Hoernemann era, Bissell started for three-years and was co-captain of the undefeated 1948 Ohio Conference championship team. During his playing days the Student Princes compiled a 23-3-1 record, and Bissell earned All-Ohio Conference recognition twice.
While at the 'Berg Bissell also lettered in basketball two years, and pitched for the Student Prince baseball squad. Following his early graduation from Heidelberg in 1949, Bissell entered Case Western Reserve University to work toward his master's degree. Upon completion of his master's work Bissell joined the Kansas Wesleyan University staff as an assistant football coach. He has been at the Salina, Kansas school ever since.
In 1952, Bissell became head football coach at KWU, compiling a 116-118-7 record in 26 seasons. His teams won four conference championships, and he was twice named NAJA District 10 Coach of the Year before stepping down from the post in 1978. In 1971 Bissell was named NAJA Area Three Coach of the Year and the following season notched coaching victory number 100.
In addition to coaching football at Kansas Wesleyan, Bissell has served as assistant basketball coach (12 years), head track coach (15 years) and athletic director (20 years). He has been NAlA District 10 Chairman for 15 years and has been a member of the National NAJA Policy Making Committee.
Originally from North Royalton, Ohio, Bissell has been inducted into the North Royalton High School Hall of Fame and is one of only ten coaches in 100 years to be inducted into the Kansas Wesleyan Hall of Fame. Bissell married his college sweetheart; Evelyn Decker, '49, shortly after graduation.
This appeared in the 1988 Hall of Fame Banquet program. Bissell passed away in January, 2016.