It seemed only fitting that neither Rick nor Jacki Buzzell was present to accept their Varsity Maine Award as best fans.

After all, there was a seventh-grade softball game to coach and their high school daughter and son each had a game so the Buzzells sent their mothers with a note of gratitude for being hailed as Loudest and Proudest.

“This is who they are,” said Miriam Eastman, Jacki’s mom, alongside Barbara Buzzell, Rick’s mom. “These two have given so much of their time and energy to the community.”

For the past 11 years, Rick has been recreation director in Fryeburg. Jacki, the former strength and conditioning coach at Fryeburg Academy, works as a health guide for MaineHealth, helping chronically ill patients get to appointments, receive necessary care and navigate the system.

Both born and raised in the Fryeburg area, they are Fryeburg Academy grads who were friends in high school and started dating after graduation. They live in Lovell and have been married 21 years.

“They’re always there for the kids,” said Kathy Fraize, who nominated the Buzzells. “They’re just kind to everyone.”

Fraize said “loud” is probably the wrong adjective. More appropriate, she said, is “spirited.”

“They’re loud in the fact that they support everyone, not that they yell and scream, but that they support everyone,” Fraize said. “They’re loud because they reach so many lives.”

The Buzzells have coached children in a wide age range, anywhere from those just starting tee-ball and those halfway through high school. Their sports include softball, baseball, football, soccer and basketball.

“I feel like I do more than coach,” Rich Buzzell said. “Hopefully I teach them life lessons. We try to instill work ethic and supporting the guy next to you. I think that’s lacking a lot nowadays.”

Mackenzie Buzzell, their daughter, is a senior at Fryeburg Academy who plays soccer, basketball and softball. She plans to study nursing at Colby-Sawyer College and continue her basketball career. Tucker, their son, is a sophomore who plays football, basketball and baseball.

Supporting their children’s athletic endeavors is important to the Buzzells, but they don’t restrict it to their offspring. Anyone they coach becomes their kid.

“It’s just as much fun to watch the kids later on,” Rich said. “We try to make as many games as possible for the kids we know.”

“Everything they do is kind and generous, and it doesn’t always get noticed,” Fraize said. “They will never put themselves first. They always put the kids first.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

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