TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - It was a day full of emotion for Alto head football coach Ricky Meeks.
Meeks was with his Alto Yellowjackets on Monday for the first day of fall practice. He was excited to be with his team but his heart was broken. Earlier in the day the Meeks family announced the passing of Dickey Meeks at the age of 66.
Meeks retired from a storied career in 2016. He won three state titles in Louisiana before moving to Texas where he won state in Chapel Hill in 1989 and with Henderson in 2010. Meeks also coached at Pine Tree, Pittsburg and Mount Vernon. Meeks was a member of the East Texas high school coaches Hall of Fame.
“We are trying to build these young men into men,” Meeks said. “That is the legacy I want, which I learned from him. It is a tough day. Thirty six years that I have started with him on the sidelines. He always did right by people and right by the kids.”
In 2010 Meeks was able to serve as an assistant for his dad in Henderson and was the first one to embrace his dad after the Lions knocked off Chapel Hill.
“That made that more special since I was able to coach along side him, to be able to work with my dad and coach with my dad,” Meeks said. “He was a role model for me and my hero.”
Superintendent of Chapel Hill ISD Superintendent Lamond Dean released the following statement:
It is with great sadness, and a heavy heart, that I report the passing of former Chapel Hill High School Coach, Dickey Meeks. To say East Texas lost a legend is a great understatement.
Meeks took over as Head Coach for Chapel Hill in 1989 and guided the Bulldogs to the 4a championship playoffs. To many, Chapel Hill ISD had just won state for the first time that year, but under Coach Meeks leadership, that season shaped the rest of our lives. Meeks coached at Chapel Hill until 1996 and to this day he remains highly respected within the Chapel Hill Community. He was not only a coach to me and my teammates, but to many a father that we never had. His commitment to us was unwavering, no matter how many wins or losses we had. Personally, his mentorship lasted well beyond my playing days, and our fond memories of Coach Meeks will last forever. He will be greatly missed by all of us who knew him well.
Rest in peace, Coach.