By Christopher Tenpenny
Former Harrisonville head football coach Chuck Lliteras died Monday. Lliteras was the head coach at Harrisonville from 2008 to 2013 and served as defensive coordinator in 2005.
“Coach Llit” as he was often referred to, is the fourth winningest head coach in Wildcat history as he went 60-16 with four Missouri Valley Conference Championships, four district championships and two state semifinals.
Harrisonville’s current head coach Kyle Schenker said Lliteras embodied what it meant to be a Wildcat.
“He was family and part of the Wildcat tradition. He was a big part of what we built around here. He did everything the right way. He meant a lot to me and this community.”
Schenker got to know Lliteras during the 2005 season. Schenker was the linebackers coach at the time and worked with Lliteras on the defense. Schenker said he learned a lot more than just football.
“We just clicked from the start, not just as coaches, but as friends,” Schenker said. “He’s had the greatest influence to me on football and also as a human. His dedication to his craft and family is something I always admired. He taught me so much. I am still numb.”
From Hemingford, Nebraska, Lliteras went to college at Chadron State where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in physical education and health as well as a Master’s Degree in education. He would go on to serve two tours in the United States Army before starting his coaching career.
Lliteras coached at 11 different schools throughout his career and coached in Nebraska, Georgia, Kansas and Missouri. He served as the head coach at Maryville, Fort Osage, Holden and Harrisonville. In 2012, he was inducted into the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame and later became president of the association.
He served as the defensive coordinator at William Jewell from 2006 to 2007 before returning to the same position in 2017. He retired in 2019 after serving as the interim head coach at William Jewell College.
During his time in Harrisonville, Lliteras coached 28 all-state athletes. The Wildcats won at least one playoff game every year during his six-year tenure.
One of those all-state players, linebacker Landon Hern, experienced Lliteras as a head coach in high school and as a defensive coordinator in college. After graduating from Harrisonville in 2014, Hern went on to play in college at William Jewel. Hern said when he heard Lliteras would be joining the program in 2017, he could not wait to work with him again.
“I was excited for my teammates to get the coach Llit experience,” Hern said. “He has a passion for the game of football and loves all the people in football. The thing I will always remember about him is he’s one of the most consistent guys.
“His attitude was always positive and you could never tell when he was having a bad day.”
As a certified strength and conditioning coach, Lliteras was all about recovery. Chocolate milk was his favorite beverage for athletes to use after a workout.
“He loved his chocolate milk,” Schenker said. “I remember when they were trying to promote Muscle Milk as the perfect muscle replenishing drink. Chuck debunked that so fast and knew the important ingredients where the same as what was in chocolate milk. The kids sometimes referred to him as Chuck-Llit milk. He always had some.”
Off the field, Lliteras loved working with his hands. Lliteras had an old green Chevy he had rebuilt and redone numerous times. Schenker said he could build anything.
“Every time I went over to his house it seemed like he was working on something,” Schenker said. “Every visit we would seem to talk for at least 45 minutes. We just couldn’t get enough of each other. He was someone you could talk to about things you didn’t talk about with anyone else.
“One of us always had to end the conversation shorter than we wanted to in fear of getting in trouble with our wives from being out too long.”
Lliteras is survived by his wife of 46 years, Kris Lliteras; his two sons Matt and Jeremy; and eight grandchildren.