Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Dinner With Coach Dakich

It all had a very innocuous beginning.

Brandi and I were at Anderson Arena for a game last week. Out of the blue, she turned to me and asked how long I had been coming to BG basketball games (ten years) and how many home games I had missed in that time (three, and I'm frankly irritated that it's that many). That was pretty much the end of the conversation.

I didn't think too much of it until I got a call at work the next day from a very excited Brandi. Impressed with my near-obsessive loyalty to attending games through thick and thin, she had emailed Coach Dakich, who had agreed to her offer to meet for dinner. And so it was that I found myself chatting with the coach over cheeseburgers at Al-Mar Lanes on Monday evening.

I had never really met Coach Dakich before, but everything I heard from people who had met him indicated that he was a great guy, something that would surprise anyone judging him only on his sideline demeanor and the fact that he played and coached under the legendary Bob Knight before coming to BGSU. So I expected him to be really cool, and I was not disappointed. I was surprised, though, by how open he was about his job situation, his players, and other teams. He's also very funny. It was a blast to be able to hang out and talk to him for a little bit.

When Brandi first told me he agreed to have dinner with us, my first thoughts were something along the lines of "ooh, I want to ask him this...and this...and this..." Once I got my mind around it, though, I realized that I didn't want it to be like an interview. So I just went with the flow, and it was great. We talked mostly about the team, but about some other stuff too, and it was really cool.

It was really nice of Coach Dakich to meet us, and I can't imagine a similar situation happening at too many other places. I don't know how true this is or not, but I feel like at a lot of schools (especially bigger schools) it's probably hard to get in touch with a coach except for members of the school's booster club. Brandi and I plan on joining the Falcon Club at some point when our financial situation allows it, but we are not in it at this point. Beyond that, how many coaches would go out of their way like this for just a couple of fans? I know this week has to be a killer for him, with the MAC Tournament getting started on Wednesday and with plenty of uncertainty about his job after that, but he still made some time for us. That means a lot.

I come away from this feeling even more strongly that Coach Dakich should be signed to an extension. Not just because I like him personally, which I do, but because I don't think anyone could have done any better with the circumstances he's been dealt. If the BG basketball team can get to the next level, he's more qualified to get us there than anyone. I think he can do it, and I think he's earned the chance to try.

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