Rick Sparks is a Butte Central coaching legend. He led the Maroons to five state championships — four in track (three girls and one boys) and one in wrestling.

Before that, however, “Sparky,” as he is affectionately called, was a Butte High Bulldog.

Sparks was an All-State center on Butte High’s undefeated State championship team in 1964. He is one of seven members of that team to be inducted into the Butte Sports Hall of Fame. Sparky, who played football at the University of Montana, was inducted in 2009.

As Pat Kearney once said, Sparky is the only hippie in Butte’s prestigious Hall of Fame.

Click here to listen in as Sparky talks about his career as an athlete and a coach. Listen how he describes practicing against the “whining” Bob Beers. Listen how he still wishes he gave the ball to Judge Brian Morris just one more time in that classic 1981 overtime loss to Butte High. Listen to how he confronts crybaby fans at Grizzly games.

Sparky, who lives in Missoula, was in town this week to watch his grandson, Missoula Hellgate senior Mario Rosemond, play basketball against Butte High.

Sparky in The Montana Standard in 1964.