Dick West left his St. Marys Memorial assistant defensive coaching job in the 1970s knowing full well the head coaching spot of the Roughriders wouldn’t be available any time soon — not with Skip Baughman entrenched in his third decade at the position.
In what could be his final trip to the stadium named after his mentor, West left St. Marys on Friday night a 42-21 winner with his Shawnee Indians.
I talked to the kids about that, about how important it was for me to win here. And the kids tried very, very hard to win this game.” — Dick West, Shawnee head football coach
West, in his 14th season as head coach at Shawnee, left St. Marys and went on to be a coach at Ohio Northern, Heidelberg College and finally Shawnee.
“This is where I started my coaching career,” West said. “I love the town and when I come back it really has a lot of meaning for me. I talked to the kids about that, about how important it was for me to win here. And the kids tried very, very hard to win this game.”
West and Shawnee departed with their fifth straight victory over St. Marys and the Indians’ third straight win at Baughman Stadium. The five game winning streak is the longest string of wins by the Indians over the Riders in the WBL foes’ 50 meetings.
“I don’t know, luck?” West said, chuckling when asked the key to his success against the Roughriders lately.
West served as a defensive back coach for the Roughriders in the 1970s under Baughman and defensive coordinator Bob Priddy.
While how long Skip Baughman Stadium will still be home to Roughrider football beyond this season is still unclear, Shawnee isn’t scheduled to return to play at St. Marys until 2013.
“I loved coaching here,” West said. “But I wanted to be a head coach really bad. And I just knew I’d never do that staying here, so I moved on to (Ohio) Northern as a coordinator for six years and Coach Baughman helped me get that job. I owe him everything.”