Rich Haldi, a 1959 graduate of John Rogers High School in Spokane played football, basketball, and baseball (1st, 2nd team, or Honorable Mention in each sport). He played 3 years of varsity baseball and American Legion Baseball, then semi-pro baseball in Spokane, 1959-63. In spring ‘60, he began playing baseball at Washington State University (WSU) until an injury as a junior ended that aspiration. He rebounded by playing competitive handball for 52 years. He introduced this sport to others throughout the years.
After WSU, he ventured to Snohomish and was a math teacher and football, basketball, and tennis coach at Snohomish Jr. High. He coached these 8th grade sports during the school year 1964-65. In fall ‘65, Snohomish football coach Dick Armstrong hired him as coach of the 9th grade football team. Armstrong convinced Snohomish basketball coach, Jack DeKubber (like Armstrong a HOF inductee) to be Rich’s assistant. Rich left Snohomish in April, ‘66 upon accepting an appointment to Air Force (A.F.) Officer Training School to become an air navigation officer.
His A.F. stint was until April ‘71. It included 2 Vietnam tours air refueling jet fighters on bombing runs. He then became Everett CC’s Student Activities Assoc. Director with an important assignment of developing a robust intramural activities program. In ‘76 as Student Activities Director, his role expanded to include supervision of athletics. It remained under his scope of authority until he retired as V.P. for Student Services in June, ‘08. He and his long-time Athletic Director Larry Walker collaborated in establishing the college’s blueprint for EVCC athletics today. They also supplied the leadership for:
- Athletic tuition waivers and athletic tuition aid scholarships for student athletes, and
- planning the college’s Walt Price Student Fitness Center and the Larry Walker Basketball Court.
Rich coached 20 plus years of youth baseball, softball, basketball, soccer (included coaching Sports HOF inductee Chris Henderson), and American Legion Baseball (1985-89). Other important contributions are:
- Player development coordinator for the North County Soccer Assn. for 3 years in the early ‘80s,
- Committee member and coach/skills trainer during 2013-21 for the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation’s baseball/softball camp in the county for boys and girls, age 8-12
After retiring, his community involvement continued as did his being honored for contributions:
- Founding member of the county’s Sports HOF Committee and its ambassador/memorabilia chair,
- Teams’/officials’ liaison for NWAC’s 2016-22 basketball championships at EVCC, and
- Inducted into the Northwest Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in 2008, and into the Everett Community College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019.
Rich and his wife of 59 years, Barbara, continue to reside in south Everett as do their sons, Mark and Erik and their families.