Former longtime Burbank High teachers, coaches and athletic directors Dave Kemp and Frank Kallem were honored Saturday at Burbank High, as the school’s athletic field was renamed in their honor.
Kemp spent 34 years as a teacher at Burbank High, coaching cross country, track and field, football, soccer, and golf. He retired in 2000. He also spent 12 years as a member of the Burbank Unified School District Board of Directors. Kallem, who retired with Kemp in 2000, was a teacher at Burbank for 38 years. He spent 20 years as the athletic director and coached the cross country team for 13 years, winning two CIF Southern Section titles. Kallem also coached track and field and swimming at Burbank.
High school teammates at Hoover High in Glendale, Kemp, and Kallem later became brothers-in-law as they married two sisters who also attended Hoover and would become Judy Kemp and Sharon Kallem.
“Even though they are Hoover High graduates, Frank and Dave were inducted into the 2010 Burbank Hall of Fame as they embody the true meaning of leadership on and off the field,” Rep. Adam Schiff said at the ceremony. “Both coaches have been responsible for numerous league championships and have achieved the highest level of success in high school sports. We hope that all future athletes at Burbank High School that practice and play on this field not only succeed in winning their competitions but also honor the legacy of coach Dave and coach Frank by continuing their commitment to personal growth and excellence in activities they undertake.”
A number of local dignitaries and former athletes paid tribute to Kemp and Kallem for their dedication to the school.
“It is a wonderful way to acknowledge the service of what (former mayor) Gary Bric referred to as icons in our community. I’m particularly proud of Dave Kemp for all of the work he did with Title IX,” Mayor Emily Gabel Luddy said.
Current Burbank Principal Mike Bertram also spoke of Kemp and Kallem.
“These two men have enriched so many Burbank lives over the years and left their paw prints all over this campus. It’s their legacy that helped build this place to be what it is today,” Bertram said. “It’s only fitting that this facility where I stand is named for them. I’ve had the fortune to work directly with Dave Kemp when he was a School Board member and his leadership and dedication to not only BUSD but more importantly to Burbank High School will always remain with me. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Frank and the relationships he developed and all the kids’ hearts that he’s touched over the years. Even though the facility looks nothing like it did years ago, calling it the Kemp-Kallem Field will forever keep the rich history and memories built on this campus.”
Kemp, who was the track coach at Burbank in 1979 when Jeff Nelson set the national record in the two-mile run, told the crowd that included more than 100 family, friends, alumni and colleagues that he loved working at Burbank.
“There are so many people that I would like to thank for the career that I’ve had and the pleasures I’ve had at Burbank High School,” Kemp said. “I want to say thank you to everybody that is here, everybody that had a part in making my life so good and so blessed during my time at Burbank High School and with Burbank Unified School District. This is a great community. I think when you travel around the world and see how other people live, you think I am so lucky that I am here in Burbank, California.”
“First of all, I’d like to thank all of you for coming. As I look up in the stands I see so many people, we go back with the memories that are just unbelievable. You remember all the things we did together and I remember those things too,” Kallem said. ” I have so many dear friends that I know are in the stands today. We set a lot of records, but the most important thing wasn’t the records, it was the camaraderie that we had with each other. I don’t think there’s a school in the United States that had as much of a close-knit group as we were at Burbank High School. It was an amazing experience for Dave and myself.”