For the first time in Newark Memorial history, the Cougars will start the fall football season without legendary coach Rich Swift.
Swift, who began his career at Newark High in 1978 and continued after the merger with Memorial High in 1982, passed away Feb. 13 from an inoperable brain tumor. He was 60.
According to the Fremont Argus, new head coach Ralph Meredith is carrying the torch for Swift. Meredith, a former player of Swift’s in the 70s, was asked by Swift to take over the team.
In a preview of the upcoming season, Meredith told the Argus that though Swift’s is no longer there physically, his presence is still felt.
Each practice is held in Swift’s honor, his initials are on the players’ jerseys and a photo of him looms in the team room. And Meredith often reminds players that Swift is watching them to help keep them motivated.
"Next thing you know, the players and coaches respond," Meredith told the Argus.