Local Sports from The Courier
Monday, March 11, 2013Prep sports: Dick Switzer, fixture at Fostoria athletic events, dies at 92
FOR THE COURIER
FOSTORIA -- Dick Switzer probably had the largest family in Fostoria.
"The biggest thing about Dick was he looked at the athletes as part of his family," said Aaron Weidner, Fostoria City Schools athletic director.
Switzer, who is best known as having been the timekeeper for Fostoria High School football and basketball games for 63 seasons, died Friday. The charter member of the Fostoria Athletic Hall of Fame was 92.
"He had a lot of pride in the athletes, the school and the community," Weidner said.
Switzer's dedication to operating the clock at athletic contests was part of a legacy of service.
Tom Grine, Fostoria junior/senior high principal and a former head football coach and athlete at the school, came to know Switzer well.
"We're talking about someone who represented Fostoria High School athletics longer than anyone," Grine said. "To do something for 63 years, that's the epitome of passion, dedication and having relationships."
Switzer's consummate service, certainly, came as a member of the U.S. Army during World War II, which included involvement in the Battle of the Bulge.
Later came his timekeeping duties, but beyond those he contributed in a variety of other ways to Fostoria sports.
"Anytime any of the athletic directors needed something, the first call they made would be to Dick," Grine said. "And I never heard the word 'no' come out of his mouth."
Said Weidner: "He genuinely cared about every person he knew. If someone was down, he wanted to help them come up. Whenever he could be of assistance to anyone, he wanted to do it."
Among those he cared for were the Fostoria athletes, from whom he gained respect and with whom he forged friendships.
"That one guy in your high school program thats been around so long and to every game that u don't realize how amazing he was. #ripmrswitzer," Micah Hyde, a former football star at Fostoria and the University of Iowa and a likely NFL draft choice next month, said Friday on his Twitter account.
Switzer's involvement in Fostoria athletics wasn't limited to official capacities. Weidner said Switzer missed a total of five home or away Redmen varsity football games through 63 years, and he also regularly went to boys basketball games on the road.
"I was very blessed to take him to every away (football) game during my tenure," said Weidner, who is in his fourth year as athletic director. "We would always go out to eat and then go to the game."
Many of those ventures brought nasty weather conditions, but Weidner said Switzer wouldn't abandon the cause of supporting the teams he loved.
"He felt he was a staple in those kids' lives and he was not about to leave them behind," Weidner said.
"Fostoria athletics was part of his family," Grine said. "He put a lot into it and he'd be the first to tell you he got a lot out of it."
All the while supporting Fostoria sports, Switzer worked for Union Carbide (now National Electrical Carbon) for 36 years and then operated a floral shop in Fostoria. Among other endeavors, he became a member of Fostoria's city council and owned and managed a local semipro baseball team.
While in his late 80s, Switzer became certified by the Ohio High School Athletic Association to work as a track and field official. He was believed to be the oldest in the state to hold such certification.
"From his service in the Battle of the Bulge through working at the Carbon to operating his own business and his service to the school, he really lived for 92 years," Weidner said.
"To me," Grine said, "he's a legend."
Subscribe to The Courier.