Personal Thoughts on Coach Dakich
Here, Coach Dakich makes his senior day address at center court at Anderson Arena. I took the picture because while I didn't know for sure, I think everyone was pretty sure it was his last moment at Anderson.
I've been meaning to do this for a while, and just haven't gotten around to it. In the days after he and the program parted ways, a lot of people talked about how good a person he was. On Wamer's show, DD predicted that would last about one day, and then it would be "who's the new coach going to be."
Of course, he was right.
So, I decided to wait a little. But I do want to say--there are many fond memories of Dan Dakich, who will be missed in the community. I understand why what happened happened, but it is a shame it didn't work out.
My son was in Junior Falcons, and we attended a Father-Son Dan Dakich camp one June in Anderson Arena, which is roughly like playing basketball in a pizza oven. At every turn, Dan was great with the kids, setting a good example, showing them how to have fun, work hard, etc. The Junior Falcon program was great--my son was coached by Kevin Netter and John Reimold (two extremes) and got to play twice on the big floor at Anderson Arena.
You would see Dan around town, and he was approachable and pleasant. He really could have grown up in BG. He acted right at home. He went to Church on Saturday nights, and is a committed and dedicated father and husband.
At Junior Falcons, the kids brought in their papers from the week and if they had an A they got a piece of candy. I remember one time on the way to the parking lot, he was jogging by, and he saw my son, recognized him by name and complimented him. That kind of thing sticks with an eight year old. Another time, he came over to invite us into the locker room--after a win, he was very specific--sometime during the year.
Another thing he doesn't get credit for is he is funny. Maureen Fulton said his final presser at the Q was like stand up comedy. He is like that much of the time. After each Junior Falcon practice, the players would put their hands in a circle, and, normally, say "Go Falcons." After he melted down and was reprimanded following a loss @ IPFW, he had the kids say "Coach, keep your mouth shut after the games." Very funny.
He certainly had some moments that were not his proudest....most of them dealing with the media. He melted down at IPFW as mentioned, and once at Dan Cummins, and of course there was this year's Buffalo debacle.
I have always said that Dan is like the younger brother in the family, who has a huge heart but sometimes is his own worst enemy, and you wanted to protect him because you sort of felt like it was your job and it would be worth it.
DD had a lot of contradictions. He appeared to be a "my way or the highway" kind of guy. He was intolerant of people who did not give their best. He did not give up, and his only sure remedy was to work harder.
At the same time, I think he really did care about his players. A lot. He wasn't going to fall into what the President called "the soft bigotry of low expectations." He believed in you, or he wouldn't have bothered.
He certainly lost lots of players. Playing for him apparently wasn't for everyone. Still, a number of his players ending up playing professionally, in the NBA or overseas.
I don't mean to make this too much of a eulogy. I know he wasn't perfect. But, on balance, in my view, the final analysis is clear.
He is a good person, who extended kindness to me and my family. I know he will continue to prosper. (For additional evidence, check out this post on his inspiring appearance on The Ticket.)
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