There are good coaches, great coaches, and then there are legendary coaches. This week our community remembers Seaford’s legendary coach Ron Dickerson had career of 191 football wins, two DI State titles in football, seven conference titles, nine Division football championships, 11 state football tournaments including four finals and twice Delaware Coach of Year. As Seaford’s baseball coach he had 102 wins, two state titles and four conference titles.
The story of Ron Dickerson is not only on the football field, in the Pit, or the baseball diamond. His story lives on in the hearts of his family, friends, athletes he coached, and students he taught. The wins, the championships, the crowd cheers was not what drove Capt., as he was named, and his son, Marc Dickerson, said it was just the tip of the iceberg,
“It was more about how he set the programs up to help the kids become a success in life,” he said.
Ron Dickerson was born in Laurel and played for Coach Schollenberger where he was a co-captain of the football team, second team all-state, participated in the Blue & Gold game in 1963, Sportsmanship Award for the Annual Thanksgiving game, 1963 All Around Male Athlete, and All Mason-Dixon Team.
Marc Dickerson said, “Coach Schollenberger was a huge influence in my dad’s life.”
Ron got the attention of Shepherd University where he was a starter for four years, co-captain and was on the all-conference team for three years.
Capt. began his coaching career at age 24 working with Ben Sirman as an assistant coach until in 1973 he was given the reigns to lead the Seaford Blue Jays football team. Sirman became the Athletic Director and Dickerson said during an interview a few years ago, “Ben taught me how to be a coach.”
In 2014, the football field at Bob Dowd Stadium was named Ron Dickerson Field and his longtime friend Ben Sirman spoke at the dedication, “Ron has spent more time on this field than any other human being. He has moved irrigation pipes, mowed and lined the field, and shoveled snow in order to have a state playoff game on the home field.”
Sirman had said of his friend, “Ron’s greatest contribution was and remains his positive influence in the lives of the students that he coached.”
Capt. was once quoted in a newspaper article, “My day starts when football practice starts.”
In 1983, Dickerson took over the baseball program and throughout his tenure six players went on to sign professional contracts. The overall record of the Seaford Blue Jays was 102-26 including two State Championships in 1983 and 1986.
Capt, never did anything without a reason or a purpose and son, Marc Dickerson, who played under his father’s guidance said, “He was coach on the field and he yelled at me and my brother Rook (Craig Dickerson) just like anyone else. When he walked in that door, he was dad and it was the greatest because he could separate the two.”
Marc said his father was a “father like” figure to many players throughout the years, “We didn’t know that he would help someone by buying shoes, or go have a private talk, or visit them, or give them a ride, or all the things he did because he never told us. He did it silently because it wasn’t about him. He truly loved his players.”
Marc said his father would want us to remember, “The way he shaped kid’s lives and how much he was an integral part of their life.”
Capt. Ron Dickerson was elected into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and The African American Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
Dickerson was a teacher at Seaford High School and helped to develop the conditioning program for the athletes that was an important role in the development and success of both football and baseball. In 2005, Capt. retired after 36 years of teaching.
Marc Dickerson said, “I have many stories to tell about my brother’s and my years watching my dad coach and be coached. Just think of how many other stories are out there from the lives he touched.”
The legacy of Ron Dickerson will resonate in every person who understands the history and tradition of “The Pit”, who was intimidated, yelled at, cussed at, survived “summer carnival”, knows “Easy Riders, No Shows, and Endangered Species”, and just whomever felt like Capt was “father like.”
Seaford’s once reign as the powerhouse of football is a shadowing memory but the work of Ron Dickerson will live forever in the lives of the players he coached. Seaford will honor Ron “Capt” Dickerson prior to the start of Friday’s home football game and his family will join the players on the 50 yard line for the coin toss.