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Where are they now: Dick Milne

SHARE Where are they now: Dick Milne

AGE: 70

RESIDENCE: Salt Lake City

CLAIM TO FAME: One of the legendary fastpitch softball pitchers in the state's history. And also one of its most successful basketball coaches. Took the coaching reins at East High in 1959, and by the time he retired, Milne had accumulated 476 wins and three state basketball titles — 1964, 1970 and 1981. His teams also captured 13 region championships. Signed out of East High with the New York Yankees' organization, where he played alongside former BYU athletic director and baseball coach Glen Tuckett. Reached Double-A ball before returning to Utah to marry his wife, Janice. Still had the itch to keep playing ball, so he converted himself into a fastpitch pitcher under the direction of Don Mayne and Don Cherry. In 1967, Milne's Monument Park West 5th Ward team won the All-Church Tournament at the old George Q. Morris Park. Teaming with the legendary pitcher Doug Borg in the State Industrial League, they played in several ASA National and ISC World Tournaments. Inducted into the Utah Sports Hall Of Fame, the Utah Softball Hall Of Fame, and also, the Utah High School Activities Association Circle Of Fame. He graduated from the University of Utah in 1953 and received his master's degree from Utah in 1966. He is still an eight handicapper in golf.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS: "You know if you were to ask me whether I liked playing ball or coaching it that would be a very difficult to answer," Milne said. "I really don't know. I really enjoyed them both. I made a lot of great relationships playing fastpitch softball. I have a lot of friends still from my playing days. They were really genuine people. If you ever needed help for one thing or another from my associations playing fastpitch softball, they would be over to your house in a New York minute. You can't place a price on friendships, either.

"That was the same relationship I had coaching my kids," Milne added. "I am elated to get calls from my former players. They were all such great kids and have grown to be great examples and successes in their lives. That's because all those young men were so motivated to improve themselves on the court and in the classroom.

"Those kids would run through a brick wall for me. It was such a great era to have been a coach. All the coaches were great friends, too. The late Ken Farrell (Murray and Olympus coach), Clark Godfrey (West), Larry Maxwell (Highland), Daryl Hughes (Bear River), George Souvall (South) and many more coaches were my friends. We would call each other before games and needle each other. That was fun.

"They put everything into coaching that they had. I still have great respect for them all. You have to love what you're doing and have fun doing it to be a success in life."

In 1964, with Scott Warner, Dick Palmer, Marty Manning and Kent Norris, Milne captured his first championship for East. Two of their brothers, Mark Warner and Joe Manning, led the Leopards over West to capture the state crown again in 1970.

And in 1981 Milne's Leopards, who were led by George Furgis and Mike Matheson, captured the state title once again.

Milne's Leopards finished second to Highland in 1979.

"Highland was our greatest rival, but it came with great respect for each other," Milne pointed out. "I really respected what Maxwell accomplished at Highland. And my players did, too. I know the feeling was mutual."

Milne also won a state tennis championship, in 1963.

"Winning is fun. I am a competitor. But to be in the trenches with all the players I coached was just wonderful," Milne explained. "I wouldn't change a thing. I had such great young men. And I respected each and every player I ever coached for the efforts they put into the East High basketball program. It was my program. But in all actuality, the program was the players', and they took great pride in playing in it. Like I said, it was a great era to have coached in."

WHAT IS HE DOING NOW? Milne and Janice are both temple workers at the Salt Lake Temple, and they are awaiting their LDS mission call.

"We're primed and ready to go," smiled Milne. "We're ready to take a different direction with our lives."

In the meantime, they have enjoyed watching their grandchildren playing sports.

"Janice and I have really enjoyed watching our grandchildren play sports so much," Milne said. "It's been a thrill for us. So, as you can see, we're still involved with sports. We always will be. It's just so much fun you can't believe it."

E-mail: torch@qwest.net