By Sulz, Dave on August 13, 2020.
Rick Credico, who helped produce football champions at Catholic Central High School as a player and a coach, has passed away at age 68 after a lengthy battle with ALS.
Credico attended CCH in the late 1960s, starring as an offensive tackle and defensive lineman with the Cougars. He wound up his high school football career in 1969 by helping bring a league title to CCH and earning the school’s Lineman of the Year award.
He and fellow Cougar Aurelio Delbello went on to play football at Minot State College (now Minot State University) in North Dakota. Credico later returned to teach and coach football at Catholic Central, serving as an assistant to Delbello before taking the head coaching reins from 1984-86. He continued as an assistant coach for several more seasons and, in all, was part of championship teams in 1976, 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1991 with the Cougars.
His name also graces one of the Cougar football program awards, the Credico Cup, recognizing academic excellence and football performance. The football team’s auxiliary facility at the CCH West Campus is named in honour of Delbello and Credico.
Credico also played and coached indoor lacrosse, playing for the junior Lethbridge Native Sons in the early 1970s and later the senior Labour Club Ebony Hawks in the late 1970s. He also coached the junior “B” Labour Club Lancers and the bantam “C” Lethbridge Warlords in the late 1970s.
Retired CCH teacher Morgan Munroe played football and lacrosse under Credico’s guidance, and later coached Cougars football with him.
“He made us work hard,” Munroe said of playing for Credico. “He made us be in shape but we were better for it.”
Munroe recalled Credico brought an analytical approach to coaching.
“He was a guy who studied the games, it didn’t matter whether it was football or lacrosse,” said Munroe. “He always studied how to play the game better and be more successful.”
It was the same approach Credico employed when he later took up karate, eventually attaining a black belt.
After finishing his own playing career, Munroe coached CCH football with Credico and remembers his friend’s attention to preparation in coaching the defensive unit. Regardless of the calibre of talent at his disposal or the level of the opposition, Credico always ensured the defence was ready come game time.
“That was a credit to him,” said Munroe. “Before breaking down film was the thing to do, he was doing it. His defence was always prepared.”
As Credico battled ALS in his later years, “I never once heard him complain,” said Munroe. “He kept a positive attitude.”
Instead of dwelling on the difficulties in his own life, “he wanted to hear about what was going on in your world.”
Munroe and Credico shared a love of Notre Dame football, and during their football coaching days, the two attended a coaching clinic at Notre Dame where they had a chance to hear Fighting Irish coach Lou Holtz speak.
Credico returned to help coach the Cougars football team which went on to win provincials in 2010.
His son Peter is a former CCH Cougar who went on to play football at UBC, and his dad enjoyed travelling to watch his son play, Munroe noted.