Passages: Dick Guyer, Longtime York Suburban (Pa.) Coach, 77

Photo Courtesy: Andy Ross

Passages: Dick Guyer, Longtime York Suburban (Pa.) Coach, 77

Dick Guyer, a long-time coach at York Suburban High School in central Pennsylvania, died on Oct. 23. He was 77 years old.

Guyer spent 52 seasons with York Suburban over two stints, including 44 as the head coach. He retired for the first time in 2009, while mounting a successful battled against leukemia, then returned in 2018 for a three-year run.

Guyer won three Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, 19 District 3 and 27 York-Adams Interscholastic Athletic Association titles. He coached 23 swimmers that won state champions and 101 that won district titles among 166 all-state and 68 All-American swimmers. As the head coach of the boys and girls swimming teams, he won more than 800 dual meets.

The state team titles came late in his career, York Suburban winning three straight PIAA Class 2A boys titles from 2006-08.

Guyer grew up in Western Pennsylvania and swam at Lock Haven University. He started at York Suburban in the 1960s, taking the top job in 1968. He started Trojan Aquatic Club in the 1980s to introduce young swimmers to the sport. While he valued winning, he also emphasized the importance of community.

It’s part of the reason why he turned down college coaching overtures to remain in York. He was a constant and rosy presence in his orange Chuck Taylors on deck.

“He helped kids find something within themselves they didn’t know they had,” his son, Chris Guyer, told the York Daily Record. “He stretched them to the limit, and it made them go further.”

Guyer coached both of his sons at York Suburban as well as his granddaughter, Sophia Guyer, who went on to swim at Butler University.

Guyer is a a member of the Pennsylvania Aquatics Hall of Fame. He received NISCA’s Outstanding Service Award.

“He parted the sea for all of us,” former Dallastown High swimming coach Rich Howley said. “He garnered quite a bit of respect and that really helped elevate a sport that doesn’t get the same amount of attention as something like football.”

“He was very demanding, but we worked really hard for him,” said Hope Kowalewski, who swam for Guyer and became his longtime assistant coach. “That was just the culture. One thing we always said was we learned to do hard things then so we could do hard things later in life.”

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