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Thank You, From Coach Rich

By Dustin Rich, 01/30/19, 4:00PM CST

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Dear Lacrosse Community,

As many of you know, I recently lost my wife, Ali, to cancer on January 9, 2019. She was 33 years old, and left behind  2 sons, Luke (13) and Dillon (5). Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking, praying and seeking advice for how to proceed forward. After a lot of thought, I have decided to step down from coaching the Men's Lacrosse team at Missouri State University, effective immediately.

Outside of my family, there isn't anything I love more than the game of lacrosse - coaching it, watching it, and playing it. Lacrosse has been a central component of my life for 16 years now.  On January 9 that all changed. In an instant I knew I needed more time for the boys, for time, for support, and to generally provide for my family in any and every way possible. I do not like this decision. I do not like being in this position, however, this is the right decision. 

I want to attempt to show my gratitude for some people who have helped me along the way. There are a lot, and I will not be able to mention them all. My first high school coach, Andy Dismore. My college coaches, Daren Turner, Austin Holman, and the first coach to give me a job, Pat Callaham. Pat I learned more from you than I realized at the time. Coaching isn't easy. The numerous other coaches and administrators I came to know and love: Andy Joly, Matt Gardiner, Dan Mertzluff, Wayne, Tom, and the Pete's from Indiana. I cherished the relationships I built with those coaches. There have been a lot of people at the MCLA level who have been huge: Jan Coyne (the man himself!), Ken Lovic, John Paul, Tony Scaz, there are a lot of people that have put in work to get our league where it is today. There's also a lot of people at Missouri State who have been instrumental over the years in helping me out: Deb O'Neal, getting us set up with the school's Adidas rep, Casey Hunt for continuing to help out, Melissa Blankenship for being so helpful with our scheduling, and of course Galen Martin. Galen you have possibly been the single biggest help to me, and to our team. Thank you.

To my players, past and present: my only hope was to put you in a position to be as successful as possible. I made mistakes along the way, had my ups and downs, but I always hoped to give you opportunities to succeed. To give you the same chance to love lacrosse the way that I did. I've been fortunate to coach some really great players. There's not a single one that I wouldn't love to run in to today. Thank you for believing in me, and letting me coach you, even when I messed up.

I'm leaving the program in good hands. Coach Curran is one of the most capable coaches I've ever known. His work ethic and attention to detail is second to none. Coach Serota will be great at continuing to help us plan for the future, and develop great leadership. I will continue to assist both of them during this transition period.

To Everyone: thank you so much for your support of me and my boys during the past few weeks. Coaches from across the country have sent flowers, and letters, past players have reached out to me, offered to help coach the team, parents both past and present have sent gifts and cards. It's been quite unreal. Thank you so much.

Finally, I would like to thank my family, both immediate and extended for their support over the years. I would like to thank my boys for putting up with a Dad Coach, for watching my games, and putting up with me not being there during most week nights. And thank you Ali, you allowed me to follow my passion for so long. You supported me, even when you thought I was crazy. You were my #1 fan.

Thank you doesn't quite seem to do it justice, but that's really all I can say.

The ability to play lacrosse is a gift, treat is as such.

 


Pictured (Left to Right): Luke Rich, Ali Rich, Dillon Rich, Dustin Rich. December 25, 2018