A Salina native, Kaye Pearce earned all-league recognition as a member of the Salina High football team in 1952, but really left his mark when he returned to the school after graduating from Kansas Wesleyan.

Pearce spent 19 seasons as a football coach at Salina High/Salina Central from 1957 through 1975, including the last 16 as the program's head coach.

He had a record of 91-48-4 (.654) as a head coach. From 1960 through 1968, before the start of high school playoffs in Kansas, his teams never won less than six games when the maximum number played was nine.

Pearce was also activities director at Salina Central when he resigned in 1976 to take a position with the Kansas State High School Activities Association. He became associate executive director with KSHSAA in 1989, and served as executive director from 1993 until his retirement in 1996. Pearce was inducted into the KSHSAA Hall of Fame in 2001.