Pool dedicated to coach who changed lives
Thursday, Feb. 9, the pool at Swartz Creek Middle School was dedicated to and named in honor of the late swimming and diving coach Dick Richards.
“He taught us all to work hard and never give up,” said Bill Schaible, who spearheaded fundraising for a plaque and lettering for the Dick Richards Natatorium.
Schaible said he traveled to the dedication ceremony from his home in Arizona because Richards meant so much to him.
“I wanted to pay him back and pay my respects,” Schaible said. “I felt I needed to show my appreciation. He was there for me. He’d make sure my head was in the game. He taught us all to put our best foot forward every single time.”
Schaible said he wasn’t surprised at the results because “everybody loved (Richards).”
Honored guests at the dedication ceremony included Richards’ children, Trace Richards Zerka, Tim Richards and Tristin Richards McCollom. They called the occasion “bittersweet.”
“I’m humbled that so many people did this for him,” said Richards.
Noting that her father did not seek accolades, McCollom added, “He wouldn’t have allowed this. But I think it’s a testament to how much our dad cared for people.
“He had an ability to get the best out of everyone. Even though he was stern, they knew he was acting in a loving way. He changed a lot of lives.”
“It’s an incredible honor,” said Zerka.
Richards died Jan. 22, 2016. He was 72.
He taught in the Swartz Creek schools for 37 years and spent 26 years as the swim coach, leading many athletes to state titles.
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