Photography

Richard Versace

April 16, 1940 ~ February 25, 2022 (age 81)

Obituary

Richard (Dick) Versace, age 81, beloved father, grandfather, partner, and coach, passed away Friday, February 25, 2022.

Born April 16, 1940 in Fort Bragg, NC, he was preceded in death by his parents, Colonel Humbert Joseph Versace and Marie Teresa Rios; his brothers, Captain Humbert Roque Versace and Stephen Versace; and his sister, Trilby Versace.

He is survived by his children: one son, David (Terri) of Chicago; one daughter, Julie of Chicago;  two grandchildren: Deklin and Tessa, both of Chicago; one brother, Michael Rios of Virginia; and partner, Dorothy Culhane of Chicago.

Dick earned his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin in 1964.

He coached at the high school level at Forrest High School in Forrest, IL; St. Joseph High School in Kenosha, WI; and finally at Gordon Tech in Chicago. Entering the collegiate level at St. Louis University, he then moved to Michigan State University where he recruited future NBA star Magic Johnson. From there he landed his first head coaching assignment at Jackson Community College. But he is most notably remembered as head coach at Bradley University from 1978 to 1986. He led the Bradley Braves to an NIT championship in 1982, and was named National College Coach of the Year by the U.S. Basketball Writers' Association in the 1985-86 season. Versace joined the ranks of the NBA as assistant coach for the Detroit Pistons under Chuck Daley, moving to head coach for the Indiana Pacers, and finally as assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks. Between the years of coaching the Pacers and the Bucks, Versace was known and loved for his sports commentating on both TNT and WMAQ in Chicago. Before retiring, he sat as President and General Manager for the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies.

Dick brought his ebullient personality and relentlessly positive energy to everything he did, and all who he encountered. He understood the value of education and sports as a means of raising people up. As the quintessential Coach, he thrived on helping countless young people and athletes, as well as colleagues and friends, realize their potential. His generosity of heart and spirit enriched all who were fortunate enough to know him.

In lieu of flowers,  memorials may be made in honor of Dick Versace to any of these organizations below:
- Parkinson’s Foundation : https://www.parkinson.org/ 
- Michael J. Fox Foundation: https://www.michaeljfox.org/
- Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund, providing educational support to underserved kids for high school scholarships: https://www.dmsf.org/

 

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