Rick Morrison Tim Walker Hoover High School swimming and diving

Hoover swim coach Rick Morrison encourages his swimmers during a meet against Jackson during the 2020-21 regular season.

NORTH CANTON A “true legend” has retired again. This time, at 74, it appears Rick Morrison has worked his last meet as head swimming and diving coach at Hoover High School.

Asked to put Morrison’s 51-year career as a swim coach in perspective, Greater Canton Aquatics Association President R.J. Van Almen dove right in.

“Anybody who knew both Rick and Ted would tell you Rick was the better coach,” Van Almen said. 

Van Almen knew and revered C.T. “Ted” Branin, who won 13 state swim championships as head coach at McKinley High School.

Morrison, who announced his retirement Monday, set a state record in the breaststroke for Branin’s Bulldogs in the 1964 state meet. In Morrison’s final meet as Hoover’s head coach — on Feb. 27, in Branin Natatorium — the Vikings earned an individual state championship and placed second in a boys and a girls relay.

Hoover 200 medley relay teammates, from left, Maya Lewis, Lily Mullens, and Amanda Fetsko cheer at the finish line.

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Hoover was celebrating the 50th birthday of its swimming and diving program, of which Morrison was founding head coach in 1971.

“Rick was so far ahead of his time in the scientific and technical aspects of the sport,” Van Almen said. “He was a science teacher. He was always on the cutting edge.”