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Dallastown swim coach sparks scholarship

As a teacher and coach for 30 years, Dallastown’s Rich Howley has always wanted to make sure everything was about the kids, in the classroom and away from it. 

But he never wanted credit for it. He made coaching the Wildcats swim team a part of his life and that was that.

Even though he has coached the wildly successful Dallastown program to multiple YAIAA Division I titles in both genders over nearly three decades, Howley wanted to do more.

The coach had a vision and with the help of the Wildcats’ swimming boosters, and approval of the Dallastown Foundation Scholarship Committee, established a scholarship fund to help swimmers pursue their after high school academic endeavors.

“It was always in the back of my mind,” Howley said. “It finally hit me. It gives back to the kids and gets our alumni involved and it’s a perpetual situation. We had some money in our booster club I said let’s take that money and feed a scholarship program.

“I thought what a better way to give back to a program that has given so much to myself and my family.” 

The goal is to award at least two $500 scholarships — one to a boy, one to a girl — per year to a swimmer who has demonstrated strong academic performance with school, community and charitable involvement, skill enrichment and work experience. Recipients will be selected based on the objective criteria of the committee.

The recipients will have been good standing members of the swimming team at Dallastown for at least three years, including their senior year.   

That's the starting point for the scholarships. Howley said he would like to see the program grow to where every senior on the swim team can earn $500 for their academic future, whether college or trade school.

Financially, the committee is off to a good start. In addition to money already in the program, the Dallastown swimming boosters pledged to donate $1,000 per year to the scholarship fund.    

“I want to give them huge kudos. They are a huge supporter of this,” Howley said of the boosters.

Local attorney Jeff Rehmeyer, a Dallastown swimming alum who was Howley’s first team captain, is serving as counsel for the committee.

While the scholarship fund is a way for Howley to continue serve the district, it also continues his academics-first message. He also was adamant that the scholarship not be named after him, saying, “It’s not about me.”

“I have always believed that from day one, you are a student-athlete and student comes first,” he said. “While I think swimming helped them become who they are. It’s academics that allows them to go where they want."

Donations from the community, alumni, supporters and friends of the Wildcats' swimming program will be accepted. Checks may be made out to the Dallastown Foundation Scholarship Committee and be sent to the attention of Ashley Spector, 700 New School Lane, Dallastown, PA 17313.