NEW CASTLE —
The 1967 New Castle High football team and Anthony “Bucky” Richards made their mark on sports in Lawrence County.
The Red Hurricane captured the WPIAL Class AA championship with a high-scoring offense and a punishing defense, while Richards spent four decades guiding a Lawrence County sports program.
ENTERING THE HALL
Richards, 72, will be inducted into the Lawrence County Historical Society Sports Hall of Honor on Sunday. The ceremony will be held at the New Englander.
“I was really honored when I got the letter,” the 1959 Union High and 1986 Penn State-Shenango graduate said. “I was very humbled to be receiving the honor. There’s a select group of people in there.”
The 1967 ’Canes earned the Ellis Hoffman Team Award and will be honored during the induction ceremony.
Richards played for three years in the Lawrence County Catholic Youth Organization when he was in high school and coached there for 18 years in the 1960s and ’70s.
“I enjoyed doing it,” said Richards, who served as the Youth Minister at five different churches. “It all started out with me and my buddies wanting to play basketball. The CYO hadn’t formed yet. I had such a great experience and I wanted to keep it going. It’s unfortunate that it’s not around anymore. It was a great experience and something I’ll never forget.”
Richards served as the director of the CYO’s sports programs for 33 years before retiring in 2002.
During his time with the CYO, the organization wanted to get girls involved in sports and created co-ed softball and volleyball leagues.
“They ended up being very popular,” Richards said of the softball and volleyball leagues. “We tried to get girls basketball, but it wasn’t popular back then. There wasn’t enough interest, so we explored different areas. It was important to get the girls involved. They came to these youth groups we had and we had to get them involved somehow. It mushroomed from there.
“I was honored to have that position. Sure, there were some difficulties. At one time, we had 13 churches participating. The most important thing was we had the support of the clergy. The coaches and parents were great. There wasn’t anything we couldn’t solve.”
Richards and his wife, Patsy, will celebrate their 49th anniversary Thursday and reside in Union Township. They have two children, Kris and Jeff, and four grandchildren.