Tighe retirement reception set for Saturday at Seneca Street Saloon

Entire community invited to attend event from 3 to 7 p.m.

Dick Tighe poses in front of his wall of photos that is located in the basement of his home in Webster City. A retirement reception will be held for the veteran high school football coach of 63 years on Saturday at the Seneca Street Saloon. DFJ file photo

WEBSTER CITY — Oh, the stories Dick Tighe could tell.

More like, oh, the stories he will most likely tell this weekend.

Tighe, a longtime Webster City resident and one of the most successful high school football coaches in the nation, will be the guest of honor on Saturday when the Seneca Street Saloon hosts his retirement reception from 3 to 7 p.m.

It’s an open invitation to anyone who would like to stop by to reminisce with the winner of 423 prep football games — the most in the state’s history and the eighth-most wins all-time nationally.

“It ought to be run,” Tighe, 86, said about the celebration. “I probably won’t know too many names … sometimes it’s hard to name the kids that you haven’t seen for 20 or 25 years, but I hope they show up.”

Dick Tighe (left) relays a play into the game from the St. Edmond sideline. Tighe spent 63 years as a high school football coach, 31 of them at Webster City. Messenger file photo

After 63 years as a head coach — he’s tied with John McKissick of Summerville (S.C.) High School for the national record for years of service — Tighe will not be on the sideline later this fall. He stepped down as the head coach at Fort Dodge St. Edmond following the 2016 season.

Tighe, a 1978 inductee into the Iowa Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, begin his career in 1954 at Cathedral Boys High School in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada before setting up roots in Iowa. His first local stop was at St. Edmond before he took over the head coaching job at Carroll Kuemper.

Tighe’s longest run was in Webster City where he was the man in charge of the Lynx for 31 years. Under his guidance, WCHS won 15 North Central Conference championships and six times finished the regular season unbeaten. He amassed 220 victories on the Lynx sideline.

Tighe was also a history teacher at WCHS for 29 years and was a driver’s education instructor for the district for 45 years.

Following a brief run as a co-head coach at Iowa Falls, Tighe returned to St. Edmond in 2002 and brought about a renaissance period for the Gaels. His 2005 team went 11-1 and advanced to the state quarterfinals.

St. Edmond reached the Class 1A state championship game in 2013 and advanced to the semifinal round a year later.

Through all of the ups — there were many — and downs — there were fewer of those — Tighe never lost his passion for the game. It’s what kept him hungry on Friday nights well into his 80’s.

“It’s been fun and it’s been a challenge every year to see what kind of a team you can have and how well you can do,” he said. “I enjoyed working with young people, too, because that kind of keeps you young.”

Tighe will never say never with regards to a potential return to the sideline, but he admits the situation would have to be perfect to pull him out of retirement.

“I don’t know too many guys that can get a job at age 86,” he said. “It would have to be something nearby.”

For now, he’s content to spend time with his wife, Wyn, and dote on his many grandchildren. He also admitted that he’s in the process of writing a book about his years as a football coach, although he says there’s no timetable on completing the project.

“I just hope I finish it before I die,” he joked. “But it’s going to be about my 63 years of coaching high school football and about the different teams and different experiences I’ve had. Right now I’m ready to start on my 31 years at Webster City. I’ve got a lot of tidbits I hope will be entertaining.”

Tighe could very well tell some of those stories on Saturday. Being around his former players and colleagues, as well as his friends, he can’t think of a better way to spend the day.


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