LONGVIEW, Texas — A beloved former longtime East Texas coach has passed away.

According to family, former Pine Tree High School boy's basketball coach Rick Dowdle died on Monday following a neck injury he sustained on Christmas Day. He was 63.

Coach Dowdle spent 15 seasons at Pine Tree High School, his alma mater, as the head boy's basketball coach and a World History teacher.

A 1974 graduate of PTHS, he was a member of the Pirates' 1973 State Championship basketball team. He was named to the All-State team in 1973 and 1974. As a senior, he was recognized as the District and All-East Texas Most Valuable Player and was selected to play in the Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star game in Houston.  

Dowdle received his B.S. in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1978 where he earned All-Conference and All-Region basketball honors.

He joined Coach Rex G. Ray's squad as an assistant at Pine Tree upon graduating from SFA. Hist first stint at PT would last four years. 

Coach Dowdle would spend time at Kilgore High School and Longview High School before former head coach Bob Friday brought him back to his roots as an assistant at Pine Tree in 2001.

Coach Dowdle took over the basketball program in 2002 when Coach Friday left for a job at Pittsburg High School. Coach Dowdle led the Pirates until 2017.

He was multi-year Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers honoree and was the proud recipient of the Pine Tree Education Foundation's 2011 Beacon Award.