Loomis gets due respect

Patrick Newell

Otselic Valley has one of the best kept secrets in head varsity boys’ basketball coach Dave Loomis. He’s self-effacing to the point where the Amish would admire his modesty. Completely deferential to his players’ efforts, Loomis was justly – and duly – noted for his coaching exploits last month. Section III named Loomis its 2007-2008 Class D-2 Coach of Year. Admittedly, I had no idea he won this award, as Loomis certainly was not going to tell me. Fortunately, an Otselic Valley fan and patron informed by telephone of Loomis’ honor, and I pledged to follow up.
For 21 seasons, Loomis has piloted a successful Vikings club. In my tenure, his team has made two Section III finals, and this past season, a 20-2 mark overall, was one of the school’s best-ever seasons. Often, coaches get too much credit for winning or too much of the blame for losing. In Dave’s case, he’d prefer to fade into the shadows and remain unnoticed.
I congratulated Dave on his award in a recent conversation, and his response: “It’s (the award) more the result of the program and what it has done in previous years,” he said. “If a coach wins the award, it is usually due to the success of the team.”
“Talent wins games” is a bit of a misstatement, in my estimation. If all other things are equal, superior talent does usually win games. Yet, unharnessed talent or skills that are not properly realized can lead to unfulfilled expectations. Working with Dave for 13 seasons and having bore witness to his coaching, he knows how to properly utilize talent. His teams play the game the right way: Plenty of hustle, oodles of hard work, in-your-face defense, working for the best shot in offensive sets, and playing unselfishly and together.
In case you haven’t met Dave, he is not a physically imposing gentleman. He is often times the smallest man on the basketball floor, but he commands the respect of his players, and from the recent vote of Section III coaches, has earned the respect of his peers. Congratulations again Mr. Loomis.