By DOUG DONNELLY
John Rice, the winningest coach in Tri-County Conference history, has officially resigned as head varsity basketball coach at Whiteford.
Rice, who closed his career Friday with a District final loss to No. 1 ranked Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central, finished with 458 wins as the Whiteford head coach, spread over 33 seasons. His career winning percentage at Whiteford was .633. His Bobcat teams won nine TCC championships and had winning records 27 of his 33 seasons, including his final nine seasons coaching the Bobcats.
Rice took over a struggling Whiteford basketball program in 1973. In his third season, Whiteford had won a District championship and by year seven they won a TCC title.
From the 1981-82 season through the 1993-94 campaign, the Bobcats won 206 games, five league championships and five district titles. During that span, Rice was named Michigan’s Class D Coach of the Year, won four Monroe County Region Coach of the Year awards and he coached three first team All-State players.
In the TCC alone, Rice’s teams won 303 game since 1975, nearly a 100 wins more than any other boys varsity coach.
Rice coached boys basketball for 49 seasons, starting at Danville, Ohio, in 1969. He made stops at Mount Vernon Bible College, Ann Arbor Father Gabriel Richard, Flat Rock, Toledo Bowsher, Toledo Woodward, Sylvania Southview and Lake Worth Christian in Florida.
He’s also been an assistant football coach, varsity baseball coach, junior varsity girls basketball coach, varsity girls basketball coach, middle school girls basketball coach and coached the Whiteford freshman boys basketball team in 1998-99.
Here’s a look at his year-by-year record at Whiteford: