When asked what he wants to be remembered for following more than three decades as a teacher and coach in Dallastown School District, Rich Howley didn't hesitate.
"I want my legacy to be what I built in children in terms of their character," Howley said. "That's what I've always wanted. From myself and my staff."
Howley confirmed Wednesday night that he will retire as teacher and swim coach on June 6. It marks the end of a 32-year career in the district, where Howley worked in the middle school technology education department and coached swimming, football and track and field at the high school.
As swim coach, Howley led the Wildcats to 50 combined YAIAA boys' and girls' championships — 25 on each side — one girls' district title and guided six swimmers to individual state titles.
Howley won more than 400 meets, coached more than 100 All-American swimmers and 40 individual district champions. He has also been named coach of the year more than 20 times.
"I'm a father, a husband and a son," Howley said. "But what I've been doing as a teacher is so much about who I am or what I am. I'm not working for a company and making widgets.
"I always wanted to make a difference in the life of a child. Hopefully, I did."
Dallastown athletic director Tory Harvey described Howley as an institution in the area. As a teacher at the middle school, Howley would stop by the high school often to check in on students, staff and the athletic department, Harvey said.
"He has been just an outstanding role model. As a parent, you'd want your child to interact with Rich Howley. Just one of those solid people," Harvey said. "The way he does everything — it's what's best for the kids. He cares about their academics, their personal lives, he wants to help them with their future. He's just embraced the role as a coach and has exemplified what a coach can do in making a difference in the lives of others."
Harvey said Howley has been actively involved throughout the transition period, as Dallastown looks for a new swim coach.
"He cares deeply about the program and the legacy," Harvey said.
Phyllis Beck was swim coach at Red Land High School from 1978 to 2008 and knew Howley since he was a youth swimmer in the area.
In a statement sent to GameTimePA.com, Beck called Howley a great motivator who got the most out of his swimmers.
The statement concluded: "Never having a big ego, sharing coaching techniques with other coaches, always available to help, being kind to every one and being one hell of a coach, is who Rich Howley was to the sport of swimming."