Dick Stiles graduated from Charles City, Iowa High School in 1960. He went on to graduate from Buena Vista College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education. He first taught and coached in Benton Community Schools at which time he added a Master’s Degree from the University of Northern Colorado. While teaching and coaching in Benton, Dick and another coach started the football program for the Benton High School. He later went to Mt. Pleasant School District where he was a very important part of their success coaching the line. He began his teaching career at Newton High School in 1973. Dick continued teaching at NHS until 1996. Dick’s coaching career at NHS spanned thirty-three years from 1973 through 2006 coaching the offensive football line.
Coach Stiles is credited for influencing 22 playoff appearances, 11 Central Iowa Conference Championships, three State Championship Runner Ups and one State Championship for Newton Senior High School through record-breaking seasons. According to a former player, “The Newton Football program has a storied history that is well known throughout the state for its tenacity, grit and hard-hitting style of football, in part because of the way Coach Stiles prepared his defensive line players.” Stiles also coached Berg Junior High wrestling for 22 years.
“To many in Newton, Dick Stiles is known as a legendary offensive line coach who was the brunt behind a lengthy run of excellent high school football in the community for decades”, wrote a former student athlete.” He taught a right way and a wrong way to learn skills and would literally stay with you until the sun was completely down working one-on-one at the ‘chute’ until you got it right”. The life lessons have carried over well beyond football for those who were mentored by Coach Stiles. He taught the value of the investment of time, heart and energy, and being the best teammate possible. He is remembered as motivating, tough, but fair.
Another former student athlete noted that playing for Coach Stiles in the late 90s and early 2000s not only developed him as an athlete but also as a person. The way he (Stiles) mentored and led was more about building character and doing the right thing than simply looking good on the field.
The legacy of Coach Stile’s positive influence is evident in these words from a former student athlete who shared the mantra that has influenced him in life some 25 years later: “Work hard, never quit, and finish what you set out to do.”
Stiles and his first wife Diane, who passed away in 1997, had three boys Tim, Mark and Matt. Dick is married to Pamela (Sparks) Stiles, who is also a well-known and inspirational retired teacher from the Newton School District.