David Eugene Trickler, 77, passed away peacefully on Monday August 3rd in Virginia Beach. Dave was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 31, 1943 to William Eugene and Marjorie Wright Trickler, both of whom preceded him in death.
Dave and his brother Terry attended Prince George High School, where Gene and Marge were their biggest fans. Dave sprang onto the scene his sophomore year by filling in at quarterback and stunning a sellout crowd by accounting for eight touchdowns against heavily favored Smithfield. A local star was born, as Dave became well known for frustrating regional powerhouses with his accurate passing and elusive running ability. His flashy style carried over to the hardwood, as Prince George became the place to be on winter nights with "little Dave Trickler" running the fast break. He led the underdog Royals to the AAA state championship in 1961 and took his Colonial Heights American Legion baseball team to the World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
Dave went on to star at Hampden-Sydney College, where he played in all 91 basketball games of his collegiate career and became an All-Mason Dixon Conference shortstop for the Tigers' baseball team. He was inducted into the Hampden-Sydney Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999. Following a two-year stint at Rock Hill Academy outside Charlottesville, Dave was hired by legendary Headmaster J.B. Massey to coach and teach at Norfolk Academy. He went on to earn his Master's Degree in Education from William and Mary and succeeded mentor Royce Jones as athletic director in 1979, a position he held along with various others until his retirement in 2001. During his time at Norfolk Academy, he guided the basketball program to 573 wins from 1966-2001, one of the highest totals among all Hampton Roads coaches, and won two state championships in '85 and '92.
While Coach Trickler was most widely recognized as a basketball coach, his true gift was that whatever he happened to be doing, he made the experience more special for everyone involved. As long-time director of Norfolk Academy Field Day, his positive energy and excitement were contagious. Those who played football for Coach Trickler still talk with boyish excitement about the experience, recalling specific games or even their favorite plays. Mention the "Belly Pass" to anyone involved with NA football during a certain era and their eyes light up with excitement. "It's a great day to be a Bulldog," Coach Trickler was fond of saying, even though his influence carried far beyond the athletic field. He was an advisor to many students who tell some of the most poignant stories of his positive impact, many of whom never put on an athletic uniform. It is common to hear others remember their experience at a summer camp run by Dave Trickler in almost magical terms, and he truly did have a way of making people feel special, as if it was their involvement and not his, which was most important.
His family and friends will remember Coach Trickler for his outgoing and genuinely caring personality. He is survived by his three children, Stefanie Trickler Sheldon and husband, Mark, Brian "BD" Trickler, and Tyler Trickler and wife, Shanna; three grandsons, Parker, Owen, and Cole David Trickler, as well as his brother Terry and wife, Peggy, and their stepmother June Trickler.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Dave attended Grace Bible Church in Virginia Beach and in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the David E. Trickler Scholarship Fund c/o Norfolk Academy, 1585 Wesleyan Drive, Norfolk, VA 23502.