Dick Hart, an Anne Arundel County coaching pioneer, died Saturday of complications from a brain tumor.
Hart, who died at his Linthicum home, was the dean of county boys basketball coaches. He was the only coach in Andover High's 28 years of existence.
"This was not unexpected, but that doesn't help a whole lot," said North County soccer coach Steve Malone, a close friend and co-worker for 25 years. "But, Dick is finally at peace."
Hart, 53, had a 330-294 record at now-defunct Andover, which merged with Brooklyn Park to form North County last year. His teams won five regional titles and made two state-finalist appearances.
Hart coached 40 All-County players, seven All-Metro choices and one All-American.
In Steve Stielper, who averaged 33.04 points per game in 1975-76, he coached the highest-scoring player in county history. His All-American was Jim Spencer (1965), who also earned the same honor in baseball.
Spencer set the American League record for career fielding percentage (.996) in 1,000 or more games by a first baseman during his 15 major-league seasons.
Hart also coached Andover golf, track and soccer teams.
Hart, a 1960 graduate of the University of Maryland, gave several current head coaches their starts as assistants. One is John Brady, who served under Hart for seven seasons before he moved to Annapolis in 1978-79.
"I never would have gotten into coaching -- I had no aspiration to go into coaching -- until Dick asked me," Brady said.
Hart's illness was diagnosed with a tumor when he suffered dizziness and slurred speech after being struck in the head with a basketball during a weekend game in November 1989.
After brain surgery, he gave way to assistant Dan Krimmelbein, a former player, for the remainder of the 1989-90 season.
Hart subsequently was named North County's first coach, but was unable to continue. Former Meade assistant Brad Wilson took over at the start of this season.
Hart is survived by his wife, Pat, of Linthicum; a son, Michael, of Chestertown; and a daughter, Tracy Lee, of Linthicum.
Visitation is today from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Singleton Funeral Home in Glen Burnie. Services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. John's Lutheran Church in Linthicum, with interment Wednesday in Clear Spring, Washington County.