Lee Verdell Ragsdale

Lee Verdell Ragsdale, Medford Sports Hall of FameLee, nicknamed, “Rags”, played football at Baker High School and graduated in 1930. He enrolled at Eastern Oregon Normal school and lettered two years in football, basketball, and baseball under coach Bob Quinn and served as student body president and editor of the school’s newspaper. From 1935 through 1938 Lee attended Willamette University where he played basketball and baseball receiving a B.A. degree in physical education in 1938. His first coaching and teaching position was at Columbia Union High School in White Salmon, Washington where he coached football, basketball, baseball and track. In 1941 his basketball team won the Southwest Washington Class B Championships. Lee became the head football coach at Camas, Washington from 1941-1946 then accepted a position at Mt. Angel Preparatory School in Mt. Angel, Oregon in 1946. He coached the first football team in the school’s history, as well as coaching basketball and baseball. During his two years at Mt. Angel, his teams won two league championships and one in basketball.

When Bill Bowerman went to the University of Oregon as head track coach Lee was selected to fill the Medford High School football coaching position. With Fred Spiegelberg and Bob Newland as his line and backfield coaches, the teams compiled a record of 26 wins, 9 loses, and 2 ties.

In 1952, Lee became the Director of Health, Physical Education, and Safety for the Medford public school system. The responsibilities of the position included the administration of the elementary and junior high athletic programs and their coordination with the high school programs. This integrated system, together with excellent coaching and community support resulted in good times at the high school level every year. Lee served as state president for the Oregon Association of Health, Physical Education, and Recreations in 1957-58, and was selected for the Honorary Life Membership award in 1971.

Under the direction of Dr. H Harrison Clarke, University of Oregon, and Lee Ragsdale, a Growth Study was conducted on some 400 boys of the Medford school system. This was a 12-year study to determine the physical and psychological effects of organized athletics on young boys. This study drew national attention.

Lee became Department Head of Physical Education at Portland State University in 1966 and was appointed Dean in 1977. He was selected for the 1982 Charles Withers Memorial Award for contributions to Portland State Athletics.