Former Seaman, Washburn multi-sport
star Melvin dies at 86
Melvin played three sports at Washburn from 1946-50, earning four letters in basketball, three in football and two in baseball.
Primarly a shortstop and first baseman, Melvin also played four seasons of professional baseball with the Miami (Okla.) Owls, Topeka Owls and Harrisburg (Pa.) Senators, reaching the Class B level with the Senators, a Cleveland Indians affiliate, in 1950. During Melvin’s minor-league career, he played against future hall-of-famers Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays.
At Washburn, Melvin earned first-team All-Central Intercollegiate Conference honors in basketball in 1948. Later that year, he garnered second-team All-CIC recognition in football, where he was an threat running or passing.
Melvin was ranked No. 59 on The Topeka Capital-Journal’s Top 100 list of greatest athletes in Shawnee County history, published in 2011.
Melvin, who served in the Army during World War II, went on to become a teacher and coach at several area high schools, including Meriden, Emmett, Robinson, Rossville and Seaman. He coached an undefeated girls basketball team at Meriden in 1950-51, directed undefeated football teams at both Emmett and Rossville, and was recognized by the Kansas Coaches Association for winning more than 400 basketball games.
Melvin also coached the first baseball team at Seaman in 1986. That squad produced future major league pitcher Rick DeHart and set the foundation for a program that has become a perennial state-championship contender.
“We had a ton of kids that just loved baseball, and they didn’t know why we didn’t have it in high school,” Melvin told The Capital-Journal in August 2011. “They went to the board, and you know how peer pressure can be and they put it in.
“I was about ready to retire, but I told them I’d take it for a year or two.”
Melvin retired in 1988 after 38 years as a teacher and coach.
Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at Penwell-Gabel Parker-Price Chapel, 245 N.W. Independence Ave., with burial at Rochester Cemetery. Melvin will lie in state after 3 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral chapel, where the family will receive friends from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Duane G. Melvin Memorial Fund c/o Seaman High School, 4850 N.W. Rochester Road, Topeka, KS 66617.