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Tighe earns 400th win

October 25, 2012

History was made Wednesday night inside Dodger Stadium.

As a result of fifth-ranked St. Edmond's convincing 41-7 Class 1A first-round playoff triumph over Western Christian, Dick Tighe etched his name in elite company by becoming just the 12th prep football coach all-time nationally to join the 400 win club.

In a scene right out of a Hollywood movie, Tighe was carried off the field by his players and congratulated by numerous family members and friends immediately after the game.

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"I'm happy, but I could've never done this without all the good players I've had over the years," said Tighe, who owns a career mark of 400-153-8 in 59 years on the sidelines. "I'm not really sure what I'd do if I couldn't coach anymore. (Reaching 400 career victories) is something I never even imagined."

coach anymore. (Reaching 400 career victories) is something I never even imagined."

Despite all of St. Edmond's recent success on the gridiron, it's been a bittersweet season for the 82-year old Tighe, whose wife, Margot, passed away less than two months ago.

"I wish she could've been (at Dodger Stadium), but I'm sure she was watching over us (Wednesday)," an emotional Tighe said.

Prior to Tighe's arrival in 2002, the Gaels had lost 21 consecutive games. Since 2004, the Gaels have managed 68 victories, five seasons of at least eight wins, six playoff appearances, and a trip to the state quarterfinals. Tighe, who has only five losing seasons in his career, previously served as head coach at Cathedral High School (Hamilton, Ontario), Carroll Kuemper, Webster City and Iowa Falls. He also had another brief one-year stint with the Gaels in 1961.

"It's been a great honor to play for Coach Tighe, and I wouldn't want to play for any other coach in the state," said SEHS standout senior tailback Alex Mericle. "Our whole team has the utmost respect for everything he's been able to accomplish."

John McKissick of Summerville S.C. is the nation's career wins leader with a mark of 599-148-13 in 61 seasons - all coming at the same school. Eight of the coaches in front of Tighe on the victory chart still remain active.

"I've had just an outstanding group of guys to work with this year," Tighe said. "If my health cooperates, I hope to come back again next year."