"The Coaching Legend"
Honoring Former Snohomish High School Football Coach, Dick Armstrong
... former football coach and teacher who impacted many lives with his own.
The Armstrong Memorial Scholarship is the most popular scholarship for Snohomish High School and Glacier Peak High School graduates. We have raised over $132,000 since the scholarship program was initiated to help deserving grads who otherwise might not be able to get a college education. Each year we award a $1,000 renewable scholarship to a deserving male and female athlete who most exemplifies the qualities Coach Armstrong sought to instill in his athletes.
Armstrong started his career in Snohomish in 1963 as a biology and physical education teacher and—unforgettably—as head football coach.
Coach Armstrong retired from Snohomish in 1994 with 272 career victories—making him at the time the winningest coach in Washington State high school football history. In his 32 seasons at Snohomish he compiled 243 wins. His teams won two state championships and won or shared 16 league titles, including 13 straight from 1976–88. This period is often referred to as the “Armstrong Era.”
Coach Armstrong passed away in 1999.
Armstrong received many honors while coaching at Snohomish.
-In 1977, the Everett Herald named him “Man of the Year” in sports.
-In 1978, he was named the Washington State Football Coach of the Year by the National High School Coaches Athletic Association.
Armstrong was best known for his “tough-love” approach to the game. He would push his athletes hard and demand they leave nothing on the field. But the key to his ability to motivate was that his players knew Armstrong genuinely cared about them.
SHS class of ’65 quarterback and defensive back, Rick Reed, was a junior when Armstrong left Camas High School to become head football coach at Snohomish. Reed, who thrived under Armstrong’s tough direction and went on to set several records playing football at Washington State University, credits Armstrong with his success.
“Everything about Coach Armstrong was big,” Reed remembers. “Including his hands—those huge thumbs he’d use to poke us in the chest to get our attention—and his heart. There was no doubt that Coach loved the game and hated to lose. We beat teams that were better than we were because we didn’t want to disappoint Coach Armstrong. He was tough and intimidating, but we knew he loved us.”
What former Snohomish High School football player Ron Knutsen says may not be as well known, “Coach Armstrong did so much for kids, off the field.” In 1994 for example, Armstrong gave back his $5,000 coaching stipend to keep the sophomore football program from being cut. He has been credited with touching the lives of over 3,000 students during his time in Snohomish.
Because of Armstrong’s dedication to his athletes and students, alumni have joined together to honor his memory with the Dick Armstrong Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund has provided the beautiful life-size bronze statue of Coach Armstrong standing in place at Veterans Memorial Stadium, and is continuing efforts to establish a perpetual memorial scholarship for Snohomish students in his honor.
Former Armstrong players and other SHS alums have teamed up with the Snohomish Education Foundation to create the scholarship fund, and they continue to seek donations. All donations are tax-deductible and will go directly into the scholarship fund.
The Annual Armstrong Memorial golf tournament will be held this year at the Snohomish Golf Course with proceeds going to scholarships for SHS & GPHS kids deserving of our support in their efforts for college education. Another option is to send a donation to the Snohomish Education Foundation marked for the Dick Armstrong Memorial Scholarship Fund. *Tax-deductible donations are also accepted through offering items to be raffeled off at the golf tournament on the day of the event and/or hole sponsorships.*
Another way to donate is to purchase a brick that will be engraved with your name or that of your family or business to be set at the base of Armstrong statue.
For more information about the Armstrong Memorial Golf Tournament, contact Denny Schuler at 541-390-8894 or Dann DeBellis 360-708-0326
Come join the camaraderie, food, and laughs with fellow supporters of a worthy scholarship program for local kids, and to honor Coach Armstrong's legacy of helping kids achieve!