Four sisters play for the same top high school basketball team. How they got there is extraordinary.
The Rich sisters are unusual for their shared basketball skills. All four of them—senior Mackenzie, junior Courtney, sophomore Avery and eighth-grader Dakota—play for the top-ranked New London-Spicer High School basketball team in New London, Minnesota. But according to a report by KARE 11, the fact that four sisters all play for the same high school team at the same time isn’t the most interesting part of their story.
The Wildcats are ranked No. 1 in the state and are coached by Mike Dreier, who has been coaching the team for 43 seasons. One of the reasons Coach Dreier has been there for so long? The Rich girls’ dad, Earl.
Earl Rich attended New London-Spicer High School himself and played sports, like his daughters. He was also a foster kid who caught the eye and heart of caring coach Mike Dreier.
Earl’s mother became unable to care for him due to illness when he was in second grade. His biological father wasn’t in the picture, and Earl ended up living in five different foster homes.
When Dreier found out that Earl was going to be transferred to a different school his sophomore year because his fifth foster family was giving him up, the coach made a quick decision.
“I was in the lunchroom one day,” Dreier told KARE, “and the music teacher was saying, ‘Aww, Earl’s gonna have to move to Willmar.’ Listened to him and I said, ‘Well he can come live with me.’”
Earl knew Dreier, having been coached by him in seventh grade football, but he was still shocked to find out he was offering to take him in.
But they got the paperwork completed, and Earl lived with Dreier from his sophomore year until he graduated high school. What’s more, Dreier served as a father figure for Earl—something he hadn’t experienced up until then.
“I never spent three years at one place,” Earl says. “He just gave me every aspect of a dad that I never had.”
Earl went off to college at Southwest Minnesota State University, where he played football and baseball. Then he returned to New London to start his own real estate business.
Dreier, now 69, had planned to stop coaching by now, but Earl implored him to stick around so that he could coach his daughters.
“You gotta keep coaching, you’ve got to coach my kids,” Dreier recalls Earl saying. “I just said, ‘I can’t. I don’t think I’ll be hanging on that long, Earl.’”
Earl told his girls, “If there’s any coach I want you to play for, it would be him.”
Dreier decided to stick it out. Now, he coaches the four daughters of the man he helped raise through his teen years. And his team, with the four Rich girls playing on it, is undefeated.
Not a bad legacy to leave on all fronts, Coach Dreier.
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