Ricky Vaughn: Longtime football coach impacted ‘so many people’

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Ricky Vaughn (left), a longtime high school football coach in Ohio, died Nov. 25 from complications of the COVID-19 coronavirus. He was 58. Here he is pictured with Seth Dawkins, a 2016 Franklin Heights graduate who went on to play at Louisville, and Tennyson Varney, a former Franklin Heights head coach who now coaches at Hamilton Township. Vaughn was an assistant on Varney's staff at Franklin Heights from 2014-16 and at Grove City from 2017-18.

Whenever Tennyson Varney thinks of Ricky Vaughn, he can’t help but smile.

The Hamilton Township football coach said his friend and colleague touched the lives of everyone he met. Vaughn, a former Lima Senior and Central Crossing head coach, died Nov. 25 from complications of the COVID-19 coronavirus. He was 58 and is survived by his wife, Mary, and daughter, Lexi.

“It’s crazy how one person can have such an impact on so many people,” said Varney, who had Vaughn as an assistant on his staff at Franklin Heights from 2014-16 and at Grove City from 2017-18. “He lived life to the fullest. He had this big, booming voice and a million stories to go with it. Everywhere you go, you hear a Ricky Vaughn story.

“Ricky coached with me, but he also was one of my best friends. He helped me when my father died, and he was always a phone call away. That’s what I’ll miss most.”

Vaughn graduated from Lima Senior and Capital University, later returning to be an assistant coach at Lima Senior. He was the Spartans’ defensive coordinator when they won the Division I state title in 1996.

He left to be an assistant at both Reynoldsburg and Chillicothe before returning to become the head coach at his alma mater in 2004, going 7-23 in three seasons. Vaughn then left for Central Crossing, where he was 2-18 in two seasons before a failed levy canceled sports in fall 2009.

That prompted Vaughn to become an assistant at Westerville South from 2009-13, before moving on to Franklin Heights and Grove City. He was an assistant coach and an intervention specialist at Westland for the last two seasons.

“Ricky was a dear friend, and that was the simplest way I could put it,” said former Ohio State football player Jamar Martin, who is an intervention specialist and assistant coach at Westland. “As a friend, mentor and fellow coach, he had an authentic personality. A lot of people had the privilege to be around him. That was a treat.”

Vaughn also was an assistant track and field coach at Central Crossing under Glenn Blue. Comets wrestling coach Jamie Ramirez was on that staff.

“Ricky was the type of coach that players loved to play for,” Ramirez said. “He loved the kids and was in it for the kids. He showed it and had no problem telling the kids he loved them. He really believed in them.

“He was what a coach should be like. He was always building relationships. It was always more about life than Xs and Os. The kids just loved him.”

Varney said Vaughn left a mark on every program in which he was involved.

“Ricky was honestly the most caring, kid-oriented person I’ve ever seen,” Varney said. “He would always say, ‘Coach ’em up and love ’em up!’ I always try to think of that when I coach.

“He was a larger-than-life person and, honestly, one of the people that showed me not to be afraid to show people how much you love them. That was great to see, and he really opened me up to that.”

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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