Ursinus College hosted the funeral for legendary wrestling coach Bill Racich on Saturday, Sept. 29. Racich changed lives at Ursinus for nearly 40 years.
Ursinus College Athletic Director, Laura Moliken, spoke at the service.
“I was honored to speak at his service. I chose to talk about his impact on others; that will be his legacy. His ability to be a part of us – always in our hearts. He taught the students life lessons – even though he was tough, and a fierce competitor, he always had their best interest at heart,” said Moliken.
Racich was known for his kind nature beyond the field of competition.
“If you were a co-worker, he always wanted you to know he supported you, your teams, and your efforts. And if you were a friend, you were a friend for life. He had a beautiful marriage with Jules and a family he loved dearly. Everyone knew Bill in their own way – I think that’s part of what made him special; something a little different for everyone,” Moliken said.
First year wrestler Jake Folk said, “I knew that whatever he was saying or doing was to make me a better wrestler, student, and most importantly a better person. My goal is to be a wrestling coach one day, and I hope I can impact kids the way coach did.”
Racich, who passed away on Sept. 21, was our wrestling coach for over 35 years. He led Ursinus to 11 conference championships. The Bears never suffered a losing season under Racich.
While he got a lot out of his wrestlers, Bill Racich inspired others with his love of the sport, even if they weren’t a part of the team.
Junior wrestling manager Kat DeLuca said, “Coach was this man that always came to school ready to give 100% no matter what obstacles were going to come his way that day. He always knew when you needed a good laugh and how to get one out of you, easily. He dedicated so much of his time and heart to the wrestling team and I was fortunate to work alongside him as a manager. He was so welcoming and kind to me coming in new to the wrestling world and helped me excel with knowledge and love for the sport.”
While he was a coach to Ursinus students, he was also a mentor to his assistant coaches.
“I would consider Coach Racich to be one of my best friends and the best mentor I have ever had. His impact will be everlasting, and no one will be able to replicate the impact he has had on the Ursinus community,” said Assistant Coach Anthony Terlizzi.
Racich was an embodiment of the Ursinus spirit, and his loss has been a tough one for the community.
Interim Head Coach Josh Mangle said, “The outpouring of support from the wrestling community (and beyond) has been tremendous. I have known Coach for the better part of 23 years and had the opportunity to work alongside him for the last 13. While I had coached for a few years prior, he pursued me to join his staff back in 2005 and invested his time and effort into molding me into someone he could lean on and stand-in at times, and at one point in time steady the ship while he on the sidelines recovering from major knee surgery. He has seen me through many happy moments and steered me through some of the most challenging. All the while he knew which buttons to push to keep me focused, grounded and to become the best I could be. I could not have asked for a more gracious or impactful mentor. He is one of a kind and will truly be missed.”
Above all, Coach Racich was a proud husband, father, and grandfather.
Moliken said, “…when his grandbaby Briar was born, we were sent lots of pictures – he was so proud of her. He sent pics (and showed us pics) all the time.”
The beloved Coach Bill Racich is remembered by his wife, Julia, his son, Cole, and countless members of the Ursinus community.