Turnovers … by Alan B. Gibson

Posted April 17, 2019 at 8:01 am

Thompson hangs up his whistle

Darrell Thompson has decided to hang up his coaching whistle and find something to do in all of the free time that will come his way now.

Thompson, who has coached the Lady Bulldogs basketball team since taking over the reins for the 2011-12 season, informed school officials of his decision to step down from that position last week.

As I’ve noted here in the past, with this job, in addition to the job as volunteer public address announcer at home basketball games, I more often than not get relatively close to the head coaches as they hold down that position year after year. Darrell was certainly no exception to that rule.

Sitting to his immediate left for home basketball games, I had an up-close view of his coaching work and especially his frustrations during the years. I’ve watched him celebrate the wins our Lady Dawgs earned over his tenure, and I’ve watched him wince in frustration when a player missed a screen or committed a useless foul because she let her opponent get by her – oftentimes costing his team a basket, a run or even a victory.

Many of those mistakes made on the floor, and we talked about this often, were mistakes that resulted in a lack of fundamentals being taught at lower levels – a problem that often can’t be corrected in the two or three short years of junior varsity and varsity play.

Through the years, Darrell would often look over my way with a look on his face that I learned to read as: “What do you do about that?” He learned to read my answer that was usually always the same – a head shake and shoulder shrug that meant: “Beats the heck out of me.”

But the worst of times, sitting that close to Darrell on the bench, was when a player went down with an injury, and for a run now too long in Clinton County, it seemed all too often our Lady Dawgs were injury plagued, especially with the knees.

His reaction each and every time one of his girls was injured in a game, or even in practice, was the same – one of feeling the pain that a parent would feel when an offspring had been hurt – it was evident on his face and it was evident with his reactions, each and every time.

He loves to win, he hates to lose, but he always put the welfare of his girls above everything else.

For that, I hold the utmost respect for Darrell and his contributions to our Lady Bulldog basketball program during his time as head coach.

Thanks for everything you’ve done and thanks for your love of the program and especially – and as a parent I can attest to the importance of this last one – thanks for taking care of the girls who have worn the blue and white for you through the years.

I’m proud to call you a friend, and I hope you have great luck in whatever leisure activity you choose to replace the countless hours that were spent teaching the game of basketball and life in our gym.

Thanks Darrell, and don’t be a stranger to the games.

In the meantime – let’s take it outside for a few months!