The smile. That big, light-up-the-whole face, squinty-eyed, makes-you-smile-yourself smile. It’s the first thing you see.
It’s unmistakable. Big and natural and warm, whatever the situation. That face a picture of welcome, engendering a feeling of comfort and approachability in everyone he meets.
A face that begs to be listened to, whether you are a student in the classroom, a soccer player in a tight game, a ref who’s made a puzzling call, a fellow teacher looking for advice.
That smile and that face are those of the individual who has made the international sport of futbal a major sport at Father Ryan, turning the school into a dominant force in the region. A Tennessee soccer patriarch. One who has raised 11 championship banners…two as a player and nine as coach. A teacher, a mentor, a friend, a father. And the 2017 Legacy Gala Honoree.
On February 25, 2017, with 700 sets of eyes looking on—and an equal number of smiles in place—Robin Dieterich ’73, one of the school’s longest serving faculty members and one of its most successful coaches, will be saluted and applauded for all he has done for Father Ryan.
But you can’t separate Robin from the soccer pitch, so in addition to saluting him for his service in and out of the classroom, Father Ryan will also honor the school’s highly successful soccer program, which Dieterich helped institute as a player at Father Ryan from 1972-1973.
Robin and Father Ryan are virtually inseparable. He has taught English and coached the Varsity and Junior Varsity Boys and Girls Soccer teams at the school since 1978 with the exception of a brief six-year period when he taught at Brentwood High. His boys teams have claimed the State Championship on five occasions and his girls have won the title four times. Robin received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Stetson University in 1978 and was a member of their Soccer Team. He is a member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association, and the Tennessee High School Soccer Coaches Association.
In making the announcement, Father Ryan president Jim McIntyre praised Robin’s service and his inspiration to his students and players. “Robin’s life has been spent, in large measure, at Father Ryan,” McIntyre stated, “and throughout his time here he has given this place life. In the classroom and on the soccer field, he has always been an excellent teacher, one who imparts knowledge, provides guidance and encourages his students and his athletes to discover what their potential really is. We are honored to salute him at this year’s Legacy Gala, and we are even more honored to have him as part of the Father Ryan faculty.”
He went on to say, “the sport of soccer at Father Ryan, and the sport across the state of Tennessee owes so much to Robin’s leadership, wise counsel and deep commitment. We are pleased to be able to honor his coaching achievements and the impact he has had on so many athletes at Father Ryan and across the state.”
Robin responded to the news with unsurprising surprise. “I am truly stunned to be the recipient of this exceptional honor,” he said. “This school has done so much for me, as a student, as a teacher and as a coach. It has helped educate my children. And it has given me the opportunity to work with so many wonderful families and students. Those are gifts for which I will always be grateful. I am humbled to be selected, but I look forward to joining so many of our community in celebrating our rich legacy once again.”
This community of students, athletes and alumni—along with his wife, Kathy, and their two sons, Tyler ’07 and Tanner, a member of the class of 2016—will certainly be celebrating right along with Robin. Just look at his face. How can we keep from smiling?