When longtime Dallastown High School swimming coach Rich Howley announced his retirement back in March, he made sure the focus was quickly placed on the kids he mentored.
"I was blessed," Howley told the York Dispatch shortly after announcing his retirement. "What kept me going so long was I got to walk on the deck and be called 'Coach' by my heroes, and that's those kids, and that's kept it going and that's what I'll miss the most."
Before his retirement becomes official on June 6, however, there’s one more accolade Howley can quickly deflect.
The National High School Coaches Association recently announced that Howley is its 2017 National High School Boys’ Swimming Coach of the Year.
In his 30 years leading the Wildcats, Howley’s teams brought home 50 York-Adams League titles, 25 each in boys’ and girls’ swimming. He also has a girls’ District 3 title and six of his swimmers nabbed individual PIAA state gold medals during his tenure. Forty more captured District 3 gold and more than 100 have been named All-Americans.
“We are extremely pleased to honor coach Howley as National Boys’ Swimming Coach of the Year,” said Eric Hess, executive director of the NHSCA, in a news release. “It’s a pleasure to honor coach Howley who has dedicated his life to the student athletes at Dallastown. His commitment to excellence for his student athletes in and out of the pool makes him a great choice for this honor at the end of an incredible career.”
Howley becomes the first coach from Pennsylvania to win the NHSCA National Boys’ Swimming Coach of the Year Award.
Throughout 2017, the NHSCA will honor high achievers in the high school coaching community by naming coaches of the year in a total of 20 boys’ and girls’ sports. This marks the 18th straight year that the organization has presented its national coach-of-the-year awards.
Each one of the honorees will receive a trophy, plus they will be honored in the National High School Sports Hall of Fame Museum, which the organization has plans to build in the near future.