Sunday, June 17, 2012


When I was growing up, there was nobody like my dad in my eyes. As many a small young girl, I put my dad on a pedestal. Although to be honest, I had to share him and not only with my siblings. He was a basketball coach. Gosh, thinking back now bring back so many memories.

Some of my best memories surrounded his basketball games. As I said, my dad was a high school basketball coach, a pretty good one at that. He almost won National High School Basketball coach of the year twice (1977 and 1987). He holds records in Mississippi that probably won't ever be broken and he did it all by instilling a belief into players that made them into a team.

When my own children were playing sports, I was always looking for a coach like my dad...someone to inspire belief in a cause and confidence within them. My kids were never that fortunate, but to be fair there aren't many coaches like my dad.

You remember the movie Hoosiers. My dad's biggest accomplishment as a coach was kinda like that.

On March 8, 1969, New Site Royals (Class B) beat Jackson Wingfield's Falcons (AA) to win Mississippi's Grand Slam. This gave New Site the first overall crown for a team other than an AA school.  The Grand Slam was abolished in 1982 because it was deemed unfair for the advantage obviously stood with the much larger schools. (I believe they may have reinstated it- I'm not for certain). Unfortunately, I've kinda lost touch with basketball in Mississippi. What a game! I was only eight at the time, but I remember it so well. Up here in Boston, everyone lives and breathes professional sports, but let me tell you there is nothing like the high school games in Mississippi. I miss them.

To me, Dad was amazing. He won move than 80% of his games in his 29 years of coaching and more astonishing- he never had a losing record. More important than records was the man himself. He believed in his kids, teaching them more than basketball. In all his years of coaching, Coach Caveness never once cut a kid.

Dad passed away when he was only 57 of a heart attack. He never knew I began writing. My first attempt was his autobiography, really meant for his family and friends. I need to revise it to republish it. (Honestly I think he would cringe to know I wrote romance...although my love for history came from him...he was also a history teacher.)

He may be gone, but he left behind a legacy. I'll leave you with something he wrote.


Basketball is more than a game. Basketball is hard work; endless hours of practice; driving yourself to your limit; never quitting; picking up yourself after a fall and doing it all over again; knowing and enacting your role into the best you can be; working along side your teammates to accomplish your goal; understanding you are only as good as your team; when things don't go your way or might not be fair in your view- you don't abandon your dreams; you might have to take another road to the end you hope to achieve but whatever course you choose, you never stop.

For you don't necessarily have to be the best to achieve your end, but to do your best. For when your team works in unison as such there is no limit to what that team cam accomplish.

Basketball is much more than just a game. It is more a way to live your life.

Coach Gerald Caveness

1 comment:

Jannine Gallant said...

Your dad sounds like a great man. What a nice tribute to him, Jerri. Enjoy father's day with your husband.