Posted on Friday, June 06, 2014
The Hobart and William Smith Colleges community is mourning the loss of Hobart Athletics Hall of Famer, lacrosse great Frederick "Rick" Blick '78. The three-time national goalkeeper of the year died unexpectedly on June 2. A celebration of Blick's life is tentatively scheduled for June 21 at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco.
"Those of us who were fortunate to have known Ricky well, knew that his personality was larger than life, a real character with a very big heart," said classmate and fellow Hall of Famer Tom Schardt '78. "Everyone he touched became a friend and he always went out of his way to offer you a hand if needed, or words of positive encouragement, in any given situation."
Any debate on the greatest player in Hobart history would be incomplete without Blick. A four-year letter winner, he started for the Statesmen as a sophomore, junior and senior, compiling a 41-5 record. He was a fearless backstop remembered for his ability to stand in the cage against the hardest shots without flinching.
"I used to warm him up in Bristol Gym using the pitching machine," former teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Jim Calder '79 recalled. "Ricky would be at one end of the room with just his helmet on. I would load the balls in the machine and we set it at 80 mph. Ricky would stick his helmet in front of each shot. He would also lay on the couch with his helmet on and keep tossing the ball up in the air and let it hit the mask. This was to help him break the blink reflex which would allow him to make an extra save here and there. He broke the blink reflex."
In 1976, Blick's first season as a starter, Hobart went 13-3, ending the season on a five-game winning streak that included an 18-9 victory over Adelphi in the NCAA Division II Championship game. For his role in Hobart's first NCAA title run, Blick was named a first team All-American and the winner of the Ensign C. Markland Kelly Jr. Award as the nation's most outstanding goalie.
Blick's winning streak stretched to 20 games following the Statesmen's undefeated run to the 1977 NCAA Division II Championship. He posted 10 saves in the title game and was once again tabbed a first team All-American and the Kelly Award winner.
The winning streak was halted at 20 games, but it took the defending Division I national champions to do it. Cornell was coming off its own undefeated 1977 season, but the Big Red didn't make it look easy against the Statesmen. In the 1978 season opener, Blick made them work a full 60 minutes to grind out a 13-11 victory at Schoellkopf Field.
The end of one winning streak gave rise to another, as Blick and the Statesmen rattled off 13 consecutive wins to return to the national championship game. Unfortunately, the storybook ending of a third straight title came up a goal short, but for the third time in as many seasons, Blick was honored as a first team All-American and the Kelly Award winner.
In addition to his national honors, Blick was a three-time recipient of the Judge Thomas Kane Memorial Award as Hobart's MVP as well as the 1976 Abraham Training Award for persevering through injury. He capped his collegiate career by representing the Statesmen in the North-South Senior All-Star Game.
"On the lacrosse field, Ricky was a warrior, a true competitor in every sense of the word and his teammates loved him for his passion and pride he carried with him each and every day," Schardt said. "He was one of the best there was in goal and as any of his teammates will tell you, his skill and preparation for a game he truly loved were legendary."
A member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity, Blick earned a bachelor's degree in economics.
Following graduation, Blick remained active in the game. He won a silver medal as a member of Team USA in the 1978 FIL World Championships in Manchester, England. Blick spent the next four seasons on the coaching staff at Boston College, including three as the head coach. During the summer of 1980, he played and coached lacrosse in Australia with Calder.
"He was brave," Calder said of Blick. "When we were touring through Australia and the South Pacific, I saw him do things in nature that were unbelievable. Incredible jumps, incredible swims, he was always testing his boundaries with fear and he stood up to them all the time."
After college, Blick played club lacrosse for many years, winning three state championships with the San Francisco Lacrosse Club. He made his career as a financial advisor, but continued to share his love of lacrosse, coaching at the high school and collegiate levels, most recently leading the 2014 Santa Clara Broncos.
Blick was inducted into the Hobart Athletics Hall of Fame with the Class of 1993. Two years later, he joined the US Lacrosse Long Island Metropolitan Chapter Hall of Fame and, in 2010, Blick was inducted into the US Lacrosse Northern California Hall of Fame.
"It is said that money makes you wealthy, but friends make you rich," said classmate and fellow Hall of Famer Terry Corcoran '78. "Given that, Rick was the richest man in the world. He was loved by everyone wherever he went. He will always live in our hearts."