Dick Pollen

Dick Pollen, known affectionately as �Big Daddy� by his teams, grew up in the Puget Sound area, playing and coaching sports for many years. Even into his 70s, after moving to Oregon, he continued to mentor youths in baseball because of the high regard his players and their parents had for him. He died in July 2008 while residing at the Washington Soldiers Home in Orting, but not before having a positive impact in the lives of his own and other children through his involvement as a youth sports coach.

Pollen was born in Tacoma on March 27, 1927, and graduated from Lincoln High School. He later attended Pacific Lutheran College, but before graduating got a job at West Coast Grocery where he worked for more than 40 years. He started there as a warehouseman but eventually moved up to become Communication Director. He was given a retirement party by the company in 1988.

Described as a "natural athlete," Dick was a wrestler and also a center on a state football championship team while at Lincoln High.

His future athletic endeavors included basketball and fastpitch, playing the latter while in the Armed Forces at the end of World War II. Upon his return to the Puget Sound area he played for B & I into his 30s before retiring from the sport.

Starting in 1961 and going for the next two decades, Dick coached baseball, softball and fastpitch teams in University Place. After coaching baseball from 1961-65, he coached his daughters in softball from 1965-70. In the early 1970s he coached the University Place Red Sox and the Roadrunners fastpitch teams, and from 1974-80 he led the Polar Frozen Foods "Polar Bears" fastpitch squad. Two of those Polar Bears teams advanced to national tournament competition.

His coaching wasn't limited to youth baseball and fastpitch, however, as he led the Neighborhood Assembly of God's slowpitch and basketball teams for about five years in the 1980s.

After he was remarried, Dick coached his stepson's basketball and baseball teams in the Salem area. Even after his stepson quit playing baseball, Dick continued on as a respected coach, and for several years as the league president, until finally stepping down at the age of 72. By that time, he had invested almost 40 years of his life coaching youth sports.