The following email was composed by Cedaredge volleyball coach Heather Dunbar, a former Mesa State College volleyball player, who played for Rusty Crick.
Dunbar finished her college career and has coached volleyball at Cedaredge High School for the past eight years.
Crick passed away on April 10, 2018. Here is Coach Dunbar's tribute to him.
Maybe it is because we are both little Delta County kids, but I sparked a great relationship with Coach Crick from the minute I walked in his gym. Coach Crick's vibrant personality and genuine interest in each girl in that gym made volleyball one of the greatest experiences in my life. Coach Crick was loving and funny, but he also ran a tight ship. He could chew our butt and make us laugh all in the same huddle. My first impressions of him were just simply, I wanted to make him proud. I knew he took a big chance recruiting me and I just wanted to make sure that I did my best. I wanted to prove him right even after he had retired. He brought that out in all of those girls who played for him. His practices were hard but rewarding and volleyball was fun. I really loved going. I remember push-ups all together and wall runs with our team, whether we earned them or not. He greatly influenced me as a coach and it is my hope that I can pay that forward for these kids that I get to coach.
Coach Crick called me "Sister Heather." I was going into my first game my freshman year and the other middle I was playing against was an easy 6'2". He told me, "Sister Heather, no time like the present to show us those middle skills." He believed in me when I wasn't sure I could believe in myself. That is how he treated all the girls. Like we were family.
Coach was super intentional with building positive relationships and culture. Those relationships were solidified to me when he would make the trip to watch my girls' play. He would come ask questions and actually listen for the answer and always remembered my actual family.
I really hope he knew how much it meant to me for him to do that, and I will make sure that I am that for kids who have played volleyball at CHS.
The Sister Award is one that I wanted implemented to recognize a great team that played for the kid next to them and were truly unselfish. I had some spectacular examples this season and really it was hard to pick. I wanted that kid that reminded me of Sister Heather. Freshman Paige McGovern is that kid. She was a great link between our under and upper classroom. She is that kid you want to make proud. We are proud of her. She accepted the award to represent the team of 2018. What a special year with special kids it was. Coach Crick would have loved a few games this year and I would loved to have had the chance to talk to him about them ,,, that, or just what flies are good on the river right now.