Richard L. Bestwick, 87, of Athens, Ga., passed away peacefully on Jan. 4, 2018, with his family by his side.
Dick was born on Aug. 19, 1930, to Harry L. and Mabel Moore Bestwick. He was the first of six children. The family lived in Grove City until moving back to Sharon in 1945. Dick was an outstanding football player at Sharon High and was offered a scholarship to play football at the University of North Carolina. He was a three-year letterman and played in the Cotton Bowl and also against Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium. Dick married the former Phyllis Jones of Sharon while he was going to school at UNC.
After graduation from UNC, Dick was awarded a fellowship to Penn State University, where he received his master's degree. It was also where he began his coaching career. He served as the freshman football coach under Rip Engle.
He moved on to become head football coach at Montoursville High School, then to high school in Irwin, and then to Grove City High where his last team was undefeated. He began his college coaching career at Oberlin College. He then moved on to coach at Westminster College, the University of South Carolina, Pitt and Georgia Tech. He became the head coach at the University of Virginia in 1976.
Dick worked for the Dallas Cowboys as a national scout and was the executive director of the Peace Bowl. He was an associate athletic director at the University of Missouri and eventually became senior associate athletic director at the University of Georgia until his retirement in 2003. Dick was inducted into the West Penn Hall of Fame and the Mercer County Hall of Fame.
Dick enjoyed golfing, racquetball and playing gin. He was an avid reader and had a vast library of history books, especially of past presidents.
Dick knew at a young age what he wanted to do and lived his life doing what he loved. As a coach, he had a tremendous impact on so many lives of the young men he coached. His legacy will live on through the successful careers of his former players. He helped shape their work ethic and was always there to give advice and help them in their career choices. Today each of his former players and associates are saying "Thank you, Coach Bestwick, for a job well done."
Dick is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Phyllis Jones; two daughters, Susan (Walter) Murray of Hickory, N.C., Kim (Chuck) Zanone of Athens, Ga.; son, Rich (Sharon) Bestwick of Birmingham, Ala.; brothers, James, Charles and William; sister, Carolyn Williams; and five grandchildren who knew him as "Pop Pop" and will miss him dearly, Brittany (Cartney) Kesten, Alyssa Zanone (Eli) Kreutz, Katie Murray (Charlie) Marlow, Corey and Walter.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, David.
Memorial contributions to honor Dick may be sent to the F.H. Buhl Club, 28 Pine St., Sharon, PA 16146, or to the George Junior Republic, 233 George Junior Road, Grove City, PA 16127. The family also wants to convey their appreciation and thanks to the Compassionate Care Hospice caregivers, especially Chris, Felicia and Mary Lou.
There will be no service, per the deceased's wishes. The family will gather at a later date for a private ceremony.
Published on January 8, 2018