Several members of the Class of 1987 remember their years at Trenton High School with a well-loved coach, Coach Richard “Dick” Mellencamp. Mellencamp will be the honoree for next month’s THS 25 Year Class Reunion.
Coach Mellencamp’s 1986-1987 season was very memorable. Second in Midland Empire Conference selections and 6-3 for the year, he was instrumental in building the team and had a special way in bringing out their true talent.
Class member Terry Lynch commented that “it is extraordinary to see someone able to come into our school system without knowing anyone and have that type of success. It is amazing the impact he made on the team and THS students in such a short period of time”.
Some highlights of Coach Mellecamp’s career was working as an assistant football coach (under his first high school quarterback), who is now now head coach at Missouri Valley College in Marshall. Coach Mellencamp also officiated high school basketball for twenty-five years and women’s college basketball for seventeen years.
He held National Certification in Athletic Administration and was selected as Athletic Administrator of the Year in 2008.
Coach Mellencamp kept the enthusiasm among his players and he was definitely a coach that led by example. Enjoying athletics throughout his Clarinda High School years, he continued three seasons playing football at the college level while enrolled at Northwest Missouri State University and Wartburg College in Iowa. He married Connie Stickelman in 1964 and the couple made their home in Cedar Falls, Iowa. During those six years, their first two children, Jerry and Denell were born. He later worked for Production Credit Association and managed Pyramid Builders in Atlantic, Iowa, but he still longed to coach. With student teaching remaining, he finished a B.S. in physical education/ health and safety, with a minor in business. A second son, Jeff, was born three months before his 1975 graduation from NWMSU.
Coach Mellencamp began coaching in Gallatin and moved to Nodaway-Holt (Graham, MO) to accept his first three positions as head football coach, girls basketball coach, and girls and boys track coach, while teaching seven periods a day.
Following five years at Nodaway-Holt, he accepted a graduate assistantship completing his MS at NWMSU. Coach Mellencamp began his teaching career in Trenton in 1985 where he served as head football coach, assistant wrestling coach, and head junior high boys track coach before moving to Cameron in 1989. In the fall of 1993, during their youngest son’s senior year, Dick moved to Carrollton to work with lifelong best friend, Coach Stan Kee. With the Trojans, he coached football, girls and boys track, and was athletic director from 2004 till his retirement in 2010.
Dick and Connie built a new retirement home, in 2010, at the Lake of the Ozarks in Camdenton, where their youngest son, Jeff and his family live. They have eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Coach Mellencamp recently received care out of Houston, Texas, for third stage melanoma and has been informed that he is currently cancer free! He keeps busy substituting, helping with stats and records for district track meets, helping coach his grandson’s soccer team, working at a part-time position two days a week as a golf course Ranger at Tan-Tar-A Resorts in Osage Beach and is active in his church’s Prayer Force and Soup Kitchen ministries. This June, he and Connie will celebrate their 48th wedding anniversary.