Thomas L. Rider, 63, phys-ed instructor and coach at UMBC

July 01, 2004|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Thomas L. Rider, a retired educator, administrator and athletics coach at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, died of cancer Sunday at his Dundalk home. He was 63.

Mr. Rider was born in Catawissa, Pa., and raised on his father's dairy farm. As a youth, he played baseball for Little League and American Legion teams.

He played soccer and baseball at East Stroudsburg University, earning a bachelor's degree in physical education there in 1962.

He was a physical education instructor at Berkshire Elementary School in Dundalk from 1962 until joining the UMBC staff in 1969.

In addition to being a physical education instructor, he served as head coach of the university's first soccer and baseball teams in 1966 and 1967.

During his nine years coaching baseball, Mr. Rider - who was called "TR" by students and faculty members - compiled a record of 63-88. While head soccer coach from 1967 to 1972, his teams posted a record of 31-27-11.

In recognition of his coaching accomplishments, the men's soccer program instituted the Tom Rider Award upon his retirement in 1992. It is presented annually to a senior who contributed significantly to the program.

He was also head coach of the fencing team from 1976 to 1980, and the golf team from 1976 to 1979. As UMBC's assistant athletic director, his duties included coordinating the physical education and intramural programs.

"What impressed me the most with Tom when he was working here was his real love for our students. The kids were always in his office talking to him about everything and anything, and that's a good sign," said Gary Rupert, associate director of development at UMBC.

Mr. Rider's office was jammed with athletic equipment, flags and balls.

"I was always telling him, `Tom, why don't you clean your office?' But there wasn't time because the kids were always there talking with him," Mr. Rupert said.

"When we asked him to be our fencing coach, he said he didn't know anything about it but would do it. He went out, read some books on fencing, and then we suddenly had a fencing team. He just loved this place," Mr. Rupert said.

Mr. Rider's first love was baseball, however, and collecting the history and artifacts of the old Philadelphia Athletics, his favorite team.

"And by the way," Mr. Rupert said with a laugh, `he couldn't hit a curveball."

"Tom was also our department historian because he did virtually every job here," said fellow assistant athletic director Tom Maier. "And I think he really enjoyed working with and mentoring the kids here. He was a big-hearted guy who just loved what he was doing."

Though retired, Mr. Rider continued teaching trail hiking and winter survival courses at UMBC part time.

"When the rest of us were warm at home watching football on a winter weekend, Tom and his students were out hiking and camping in the wilds of Pennsylvania," Mr. Rupert said.

For several years during the 1990s, Mr. Rider also worked as a deliveryman for Bluemount Nurseries in Monkton.

He was a member of the First Lutheran Church of Gray Manor, 212 Oakwood Road, Dundalk, where services will be held at 11 a.m. today.

Survivors include his wife of 37 years, the former Linda Nadolny, a teacher at Baltimore County's Mars Estates Elementary School; a son, Keith T. Rider of Bel Air; two daughters, Rebecca Rider Stevens and Courtney Rider Donoho, both of Dundalk; two brothers, William Rider of Easton, Pa., and Gregory Rider of Nescopeck, Pa.; a sister, Leslie Neuhard of Bloomsburg, Pa.; and four grandchildren.

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