It would be unfair to Coach DV to end this book without pay- ing homage to his ultimate achievement. After forty years of coaching, through all of the tough, demanding, and sometimes torturous times, nearly every player he ever coached respected and liked him.
A special “Coach DV Night” roast, attended by nearly 300 friends and former players from as far away as California attested to the esteem in which so many held him.
Among the many reasons (the toughness, the consistency, the honesty) that have caused four decades of athletes to appreciate him, none is more compelling than his ability to praise.
Much of that quality must be considered in context. Realizing that Coach DV was dissatisfied and angry most of the time, it was a tremendous relief and a real joy to suddenly find yourself, if only momentarily, basking in Coach DV’s approval for a play or a pass or a steal performed exactly as Coach DV wanted to see it.
Secondly, as you can imagine, anyone so able to reach people so penetratingly in critical or negative ways usually has the proportionate ability to reach them in complimentary and positive ways.
When Coach DV erupted with praise—”Now that’s basketball!”—you couldn’t help but feel ten or eleven or fifteen feet tall.
As demanding as Coach DV was, he wasn’t stingy with praise. If you gave him what he wanted, his joy, his gratitude, his reaction was as spontaneous and effulgent as any of his angry outbursts.
Coach DV simply hated bad basketball and loved good basketball.
To be continued next week…
From Dick’s book Stuff