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Friday, November 13, 2009
Well, you can just call me coach

I RETIRED UNDEFEATED.  It's not something that any other coach that I know of can say.  It's not something that Roy Williams will ever be able to say with his two national championships and 138 losses.

It's not something that John Wooden, the legendary coach at UCLA can say.  Sure he had 10 national championships in 12 years – along with 162 career losses.

Retiring undefeated is not even something that Sylvia Hatchell, head coach of the UNC women's basketball team, can say she will do.  Hatchell has won three national championships at three different levels (AIAW, NAIA and NCAA Division I) to go with her 282 losses.

I know what you are thinking.  I know exactly what you're thinking.  "Gaddy, you are undefeated because you never coached."  Wrong again, my friend.  I have, too, been a coach and an undefeated one at that.  Don't believe me?  Let me give you a brief history of my spotless coaching career.

The Daily Tar Heel held a contest to see who would be the "guest" assistant coach for UNC women's basketball team for the Virginia game.  More accurately the position might be termed the "temporary, part-time, honorary guest assistant to the assistant to the assistant coach" but whatever you call it, it's a crucial role that previously included two key duties: nodding your head to the crowd when being introduced as a "guest" coach and not provoking a bench technical foul call.

For the Daily Tar Heel contest, being the kind of person I am, I did not write a traditional essay, I sent in a David-Letterman-like Top Ten List instead.  [Important editorial note: This was considerably before David Letterman was revealed to be vindictive, mean-spirited, sleazy, lecherous and unfunny.]   I won the contest.  (And, no, I am not claiming that winning that contest as my coaching "victory."  How cheesy would that be?)

Why did I win this vaunted contest?  Just a few of "The Top 10 Reasons I Would Make a Great Daily Tar Heel Guest Coach" will make it clear.  My two primary basketball-related qualifications: "I took part in two full Optimist League practices in the fall of 1960" and "I spent two contiguous weeks at Glenn Wilkes Basketball Camp in the summer of 1965."  (I humbly left out my greatest achievement:  almost trying out for the George Washington High School junior varsity team.)

And the "Number One" reason I claimed that would make me a great Daily Tar Heel guest coach: "The Tar Heel team prays before and after each game I pray all during."

But my course-changing contribution to team history came via Jan Boxill, then the team's public address announcer, who read my top-ten list to the squad in the locker room just before the game.  They all thought it was hilarious – and the laughter relaxed them, got them loose for one of the biggest games of the year.  And so, under my watchful eye, the Tar Heels nipped the Cavs.

This was not a blip.  It was dawn of a new day.  Virginia had owned the Tar Heels up to that point, winning 20 out of the previous 23 UVa-UNC games.  And what happened, starting with my stint as temporary, part-time, honorary guest assistant to the assistant to the assistant coach?  The Tar Heels proceeded to win 23 of next 27 matchups.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Oh, of course Coach Hatchell recruited and signed the players, taught, tutored and trained them, designed a defense, established an offense and motivated the teams that have won 23 of the last 27 UVa games but who was coaching them when they were losing to UVa?  (I'm not going to say but it wadn't me!)

Don't get me wrong, Coach Hatchell, you’re a great coach.  Still, if you need further assistance, I’ll be in the end zone nearby.  I’ll not be joining you on the bench not and risk a game-losing technical that mars my undefeated record.


Gary D. Gaddy usually sits in the “senior section” of Carmichael (when the team gets back there) where he can coach the coach during crucial end-of-game situations.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday November 13, 2009.

Copyright  2009  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:04 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 7:20 PM EST
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