Gorman: Rittman had 'great career'
When Dede Rittman joined the WPIAL golf committee, all she got was grief.
Upon retiring, she got a gift.
A restored Walter Hagen Ultra persimmon No. 1 wood driver served as a symbol of something old that's new again.
Like her career.
After 33 seasons as North Allegheny's golf coach — the boys coach since 1989 — Rittman filed her final scorecard last week.
An English teacher for 37 years, she finally wrote a book, Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher.
For Rittman, coaching was always about teaching her students about the game of life.
She was successful, with a 322-96 record, 12 section titles and four WPIAL runner-up finishes.
“Winning is important, but I like what the kids learn more from the game about life, making friendships, how we treat people,” Rittman said. “That's what really matters to me.”
Rittman taught her players — she always addresses them as “gentlemen” — that they could learn more about someone by playing nine holes with them than sitting next to them in class for one semester.
Rittman stressed good manners and professed to hold her players to higher standards.
“When you meet someone new, you always want to be positive and pleasant,” she said, “because you give them a small piece of yourself and you're going to take a small piece of them with you.
“You want to make sure all the pieces are positive.”
Perhaps the most positive piece of her career was coaching autistic golfer John McCabe, whom Rittman calls “one of my biggest success stories.”
Now, it's time for a new round.
“I've had a great career,” Rittman said, “but it's time to go.”