By Carly Thompson / Staff writer
Rusty Hilst is a well-known radio broadcaster and math teacher in the Hutchinson area who has been diagnosed with ALS, a nervous system disease that weakens the muscles.
Hilst also had an impressive golfing career and was the Tournament Administrator for the Kansas Golf Association. He was inducted into the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame in 2002.
Hilst was also a golf coach at Hutchinson High School for 31 years, where he also taught calculus, trigonometry and college algebra. He became the Math Department Chairman in 1978.
His broadcasting career began at KWHK Radio in 1969, and he moved to KWBW in 1980, where he announced the games for Hutchinson High School, Hutchinson Community College, and the NJCAA Tournament.
Hilst received the Hod Humiston Award from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters in 2005. He was also inducted into the Hutchinson Community College Quarterback Club Hall of Fame in 2014.
Rusty’s friends and family have started a GoFundMe titled “Rally for Rusty Hilst vs. ALS” where you can donate to his medical expenses. There is also a Facebook page called “Rally for Rusty Hilst” where they post updates on Rusty’s ALS journey and stories of his life.
Here is a sample of what Hilst’s co-workers and friends have to say about him, his impact on their lives and the community.
“His willingness to share his stories with me continues to motivate me.
Rusty is a hall of famer in multiple areas of his life. Broadcasting, Blue Dragon Athletics, and Golf. His impact in all of those areas and specifically in Hutchinson and the state of Kansas is felt by many.” – Josh Gooch, Hutchinson Community College Athletic Director.
“Rusty has been synonymous with Salthawk and Blue Dragon athletics for decades and has had such a positive impact on generations. And I’d give anything to have about 10% of Rusty’s golfing ability.” – Denny Stoecklein, HutchCC Director Of Marketing And Public Relations. He has two sons whose high school careers were covered by Hilst.
“Rusty was my teaching mentor, my golf mentor, and my friend for 30-plus years. It was truly amazing to be able to watch a teacher always get the best out of his students. My biggest honor was to give the introduction for Rusty into the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame.” – Charles Pierce, Science Department Chairperson and Boys and Girls Golf Coach at Hutchinson High School.
“Rusty is a pro and master of his craft in all he does. It is a sincere honor calling Rusty a friend and fellow educator.” – Phil Anderson, Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at Hutchinson Community College and former Hutchinson High boys basketball coach.
“He truly is an amazing man. Rusty’s impact over the years in education, broadcasting, and coaching has been pivotal in many kids’ lives. He’s been a constant in this community on so many levels and has made a ripple effect that will last for generations.” – Bryan Miller, Boys Basketball Coach at Hutchinson High School.
“He is one of those rare gentlemen who makes a wonderful first impression, and then the better you get to know him, the more you like and respect him. Whenever Rusty talks, on the radio or across from you at the dinner table, it’s worth listening.” – Dan Naccarato, Business Management/Entrepreneurship Professor at Hutchinson Community College. Naccarato also calls Hutch High and HutchCC sports on KWBW radio.