Sports

Dad leaves legacy for Princeton coach Steve Amy

PHS wrestling coach Steve Amy, about 9 in this photo, gets instructions from his dad, Rick, during a youth match 30 years ago. Rick Amy passed away last week at age 67, but left a legacy with his son, who has coached at PHS since 2008.

Like many boys, Steve Amy wanted to grow up and be just like his dad.

Rick Amy was the coach of many sports at Rockridge High School, best known as head football and wrestling coach of Rockets programs that both won state championships.

Steve was right by his dad’s side along with his younger brothers, Kevin and Keith, on the Rockets sidelines. Steve soaked it all up, so much so he wanted to become a coach just like his dad when he grew up.

Rick Amy passed away Friday, Dec. 3 at the age of 67 from COVID-19 complications, leaving behind a legacy with his family, especially Steve, who has been head wrestling coach at Princeton High School since 2008.

“He was teacher and coach for 30-plus years.” Steve said. “I followed right in his footsteps. Molded my life the same way he did. I was running all over the place on the sidelines when I was this big (hand down low) with a helmet on. We have another picture of me with head gear on when I’m sitting next to him, not much different than my two (Cooper and Hawk) have been since I’ve been here.

“I knew from an early age I wanted to coach and be around sports. Teaching PE is just a bonus because you kind of to get to play games all day with the kids and wear sweats or gym shorts. I’m comfortable all day. I don’t have to wear a shirt and tie and khakis.”

Rick wore many hats in 35 years in the Rockridge school district, starting out at the junior high level.

He laid the foundation of Rockridge programs for years to come. He started both the youth programs in football and wrestling as well as the junior high wrestling program, the high school FCA and softball program, which won its third state championship this spring.

He even coached freshmen volleyball while he was coaching freshmen football.

Rick had much success as head coach in football and wrestling, reaching the pinnacle of success in both sports as state champions.

He was the Rockets’ head football coach for 14 years (1991 to 2004). The Rockets won the state championship in his fourth year, 1994, after winning just five games in his first three years. The Rockets also went back to the state finals in 1998 undefeated, finishing second, and reached the playoffs six times in Amy’s tenure.

At the same time, he was building a highly successful wrestling program, which he coached from 1989 to 2005. In back-to-back seasons, the Rockets won a state title (1990) with a runner-up finish (1991). He had 60 individual state qualifiers and 19 place-winners, with six winning individual state champions, including Steve, a three-time state champ (he was state runner-up the other year with an ACL injury).

Rick’s wrestling teams also won six regional titles and six Olympic Conference championships. He was named IWCOA “Class A Coach of the Year” in 1990 and inducted in the IWCOA Hall of Fame in 2005.

Steve was an assistant football coach when he first came to PHS and recruited his dad to serve as an extra eye in the press box for the Tigers on game nights. A standout running back for his dad’s football teams, Steve gravitated more into coaching wrestling, which also proved to become his dad’s favorite sport.

“Wrestling ended up meaning a little bit more to him, just because of the experiences he got to have with myself and two younger brothers,” Steve said. “We spent a lot of time from going to gym to gym, practices and all kinds of different things. Experienced a lot of cool things with it.”

More than building winning programs, Steve said he learned how to develop a family atmosphere for his teams from his dad.

“The relationships he was able to build with his teams was something I wanted to do to figure it out to make it a family,” Steve said.

Steve learned many things from his dad that he will continue to utilize each day he coaches and he teaches.

Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com.