2017-02-16 / Front Page

Pool dedicated to coach who changed lives

BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com


A sign under the scoreboard lets spectators know that the pool is dedicated to a special man. 
Photos by Lania Rocha A sign under the scoreboard lets spectators know that the pool is dedicated to a special man. Photos by Lania Rocha SWARTZ CREEK – To some it may be just a pool, but to many it is a place where hard work was expected, praise was earned, confidence was found and lives were changed.

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.”


A plaque outside the spectator bleachers describes swim coach Dick Richards’ legacy in the Swartz Creek schools. A plaque outside the spectator bleachers describes swim coach Dick Richards’ legacy in the Swartz Creek schools. Former students, athletes and supporters donated $11,120, about $7,500 of which will go for equipment and supplies for the swimming and diving program.

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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