Richard Joseph (Rick) Harris, 87, passed away on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, surrounded by his family following a short stay at Sterling Care at Frostburg Village.
Rick was born in Frostburg on February 27, 1936.
He was the son of the late Henry and Margaret (Maley) Harris.
In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his brother Kenny Harris, his sister Margie Cline and his granddaughter, Mya Harris.
He attended St. Michael's Catholic School in Frostburg, through the 8th grade. While at St. Michaels, he excelled in basketball, playing for the Knights of Columbus Youth League All Star Team where he was an excellent ball handler and was the leading scorer with 38 points.
His love for sports continued through high school at LaSalle, where he played football, basketball and baseball. Rick was the only junior on the football team. Some of his most memorable moments were being named lineman of the week and intercepting a pass and running for 82 yards to score a touchdown. He also made All-City. In the 1953 American Legion baseball season, Rick won the Loop Batting Crown with a batting average of .563 coming from 22 hits in 40 at bats. In one of his favorite games against Grantsville, he recorded two triples, two doubles and a single in 5 trips to the plate. Rick earned letters in 3 sports, football, basketball and baseball, during his junior and senior years.
Upon graduation from LaSalle in 1955, Rick attended Fairmont State College, majoring in education. During his four years at Fairmont State, he played baseball, basketball, football and was on the swimming team. It was during this time that he met his wife Mickey. She was asked to be a judge during a diving event and gave him a zero (instead of a ten) during a near perfect dive. He was an All-West Virginia Conference guard in football during his final two years.
Rick's performances at Fairmont State led to two professional offers. His first was during his junior year when he had a chance to sign a baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox. He waited until his senior year to sign but hurt his shoulder and never got another chance. After graduation he was invited to attend the New York Giants training camp as a linebacker but turned it down because he thought he was too small.
After college, Rick taught at three different high schools in Washington County. He taught at Sykesville High School where he started a baseball program and coached JV baseball and basketball. He then moved to Brooklyn Park and he organized a football program and coached from 1960-1964. Following his time at Brooklyn Park he went to North Hagerstown and started a wrestling program and was the assistant football coach.
Rick's dream of owning a golf course was fulfilled when he and his wife purchased Clearview, a nine-hole golf course, in Barrackville, WV. They owned and operated the course until selling it in 1975.
In 1967, Rick received a call from Brother Stephen Paul at Bishop Walsh telling him that they needed a head basketball coach and an assistant football coach for the late Bubbles Thompson. He accepted the offer to coach and teach Government and Drivers Education. During his twelve years at BW, He won 215 games and lost 112. He had one undefeated season at 23-0. Under his leadership, they won city titles in 1968, 1971, 1973, 1977, and 1978 with a three-way tie in 1974 with Fort Hill and Allegany. Bishop Walsh won the PVC title in 1968 and 1969, compiling a 22-game conference winning streak. They were the Times News area champions in 1976 and 1977 they shared the Times News honor with Keyser High School. Bishop Walsh won 2 games at the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament. They were selected from many teams all over the country to be in the tournament.
Rick became the first coach to win city titles at two different schools, when he accepted a position to teach at Fort Hill in 1979. He taught Physical Education and Drivers Education. During his 16 years at Fort Hill, he won three WMI Championships. In 1992, he had his 400th career victory when Fort Hill beat Jefferson.
Rick suffered a heart attack on the day of a big game against Allegany and missed the rest of the basketball season. It was a hard decision, but he retired with 35 years as a high school teacher and coach due to health reasons. During his career as an athlete and as a coach he acquired many awards and accolades. Throughout his 35-year career as a coach, he coached 697 area basketball games with 445 victories. His teams won 15 city titles, 9 Western Maryland Interscholastic titles, 7 area titles, and 5 Potomac Valley Conference titles. Rick was inducted into The Fairmont State Hall of Fame, The Bishop Walsh Hall of Fame, the Western Maryland Hall of Fame and the Cass Taylor's Hall of Fame.
After retirement, Rick could be found playing golf with his brothers at Maplehurst Country Club, where he got a hole in one. You could find him at McDonalds every morning with his brothers and friends, solving all the world problems over a cup of coffee. One of his favorite pastimes was to sit in the bleachers and watch his sons and grandchildren share in his love of sports. Although he never truly put his coaching aside, he was always quick to offer advice to his kids and grandkids.
Despite all the wonderful accomplishments in sports, his family was his proudest achievement. He is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Patricia Ann (Mickey) Harris; his three sons, Rick (Lisa) Harris, Billy (Angie) Harris, Jon (Hope) Harris; six grandchildren, Sara (Mike) Giano, Joey (Alyssa) Harris, Nina (Johnatan) Torrico, Jona Harris, Nick (Cierra) Harris, Hunter Harris; two great grandchildren, Matthew and Isabella Giano; one brother, Gene (JoAnn) Harris, Joan Mckinnon; numerous brother and sister in laws and nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Sterling Care for their kindness and care during Rick's short stay.
Friends and family will be received at Durst Funeral Home, 57 Frost Avenue on Friday November 3, 2023 from 3:00 - 7:00 pm.
Mass of the Christian burial will take place on Saturday, November 4, 2023 at 10:00 am at Divine Mercy Parish St. Michael's Catholic Church with Father Eric Gauchat OFM Cap. Officiating.
Internment will be in Frostburg Memorial Park.
Pallbearers will be Joey Harris, Nick Harris, Hunter Harris, Michael Giano, Johnatan Torrico, and Jimmy Harris.
Words of comfort may be sent to the family following obituary at www.durstfuneralhome.com
If you would like to make a donation instead of sending flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in memory of Mya Harris at CFF, PO Box 97372, Washington DC 20009.