Thomas Vincent Aldrich taught and coached for over 35 years in the Catholic School System of Lincoln, but his greatest accomplishment went far beyond teacher and coach. He was a positive Christian role model, dedicated to Catholic education, who positively affected the lives of everyone who knew him.
Vince was born July 15, 1923 in Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from Sioux City East High School in 1942 where he lettered in football, and then enrolled in the University of NE Lincoln where he started for the Nebraska football team before joining the US Army in 1943. He served in the Normandy Campaign at Omaha Beach in 1944, and was awarded a purple heart in 1945 when he sustained shrapnel to the knee which ended his dreams of playing college football. He returned to college at the University of NE with new dreams of becoming a teacher and coach and received his degree in education in 1950. He completed his student teaching and coaching at Lincoln’s Catholic High School – Cathedral High. After graduation, he was hired as coach and teacher at Cathedral High and achieved his first Class C Six-Man state football title in 1951. Vince married Lois Jeanne Foster of Lincoln, NE in 1952 and they were later blessed with four children who all attended Pius X High School in the 1970s.
Vince was privileged to be part of the original staff when Pius X first opened its doors in 1956. Until his untimely death in 1985, he was the only head football coach Pius X had ever had since the school opened its doors. Vince achieved many successes throughout his teaching and coaching career. He had 25 winning seasons as a coach including five state championship teams in the 1970’s and achieved a 200-105-13 record. He was named Ralph Beechner coach of the year in 1973 and Journal Star coach of the year in 1974. In addition his fellow Nebraska coaches named him district football coach of the year in 1979 and he was co-winner of the Coach of the Decade Award for the 1970’s by the Journal Star. Aldrich Field was named for him in 1978.
In 1980, Vince’s wife Jeanne passed away after a long bout with cancer. Vince continued to coach football and serve in the position of Athletic Director at Pius X until his own sudden death due to a heart attack in 1985. He was inducted into the Nebraska Coaches Association Hall of Fame posthumously in 1999.
Vince’s legacy lives on in the lives of those who knew him. He dedicated his life to the mentoring of young adults by teaching them the importance of faith, perseverance and team work to name a few. He was a gentle soul who saw the potential in young adults and worked to help those young adults realize that potential in their daily lives.
The Vince Aldrich Memorial fund was established in 2009 to help support teachers like Vince Aldrich who involve themselves as mentors to youth through their involvement in extracurricular activities.