Dick Tighe, Iowa's all-time winningest football coach, actually started his career north of the United States border.
He made the long trip back to Canada recently as a tribute to where it all began. And Tighe, in turn, was recognized for that journey - both literally and figuratively.
"It was an honor to go," Tighe said after being singled out in a "Celebration of Significant People" ceremony in Hamilton, Ontario. "They called me several times, but I wasn't able to travel because my wife (the late Margot Tighe) couldn't go with me.
St. Edmond football coach Dick Tighe receives his ‘Celebration of Significant People’ honor in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada recently.
"This year, I just decided I?was going to go and agreed to it. It was a charity banquet to honor people that had made a significant impact in and around the area."
Tighe went the extra mile to return to his roots. The legend traveled the 850-plus miles one way - and he did it without unanimous consent from his family.
"It was a good trip," said the 83-year old Tighe. "I drove by myself, and my kids had a fit.
"I came back home through Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland and South Bend. I had a friend in South Bend and stopped to see him. It was of course long, but well worth it."
A Nebraska native, Tighe originally attended Wayne State University - where he played quarterback - before transferring to the University of Notre Dame. He graduated from there in 1952.
Tighe originally took the sidelines at Cathedral Boys High School in Hamilton, Ontario, where he won three city championships and four runner-up honors.
"It was a great night,'' Tighe said. "There were four or five tables of former players. I spent my first seven years there, so it was nice to return. I got to see people I haven't seen in a long long time.
"They really made a fuss over us. They marched us in with bag pipes. It was very nice.''
From Cathedral, Tighe moved to Iowa, where he coached the Gaels for one season. His next stop was Carroll Kuemper.
Tighe then found a home in Webster City, where he spent the next 31 seasons and amassed a record of 220-72-1. He was co-coach at Iowa Falls before coming to St. Edmond.
Tighe currently stands atop the list of winningest coaches in state history with a record of 413-151-8. Last season, Tighe led the Gaels to the school's first ever state championship game berth.
Tighe was selected by the Iowa Coaches Association as the state's coach of the year in both 2005 and 2007.