Wednesday, April 23, 2014
By Dale Duff
Special to the Telegram
CALAIS — If Calais girls’ basketball coach Dana Redding doesn’t stress out over a missed shot or a turnover anymore, it’s perfectly understandable.
Heart bypass surgery, a heart valve replacement and a mini-stroke can really change a guy’s perspective.
“I don’t get too stressed anyway. Maybe deep down a little but I try not to show it,” said Redding. “Not like I used to, put it that way.”
Redding, 61, is a social worker in Washington County by day. For the past 14 years he’s also been a coach at Calais High, seven years as Bob McShane’s assistant and the last seven as head coach.
He’s been a part of four Eastern Maine Class C titles and two state championships.
Redding said his lengthy medical issues began in the fall of 2012. He underwent lots of tests to determine why he felt so tired.
During the winter he coached the Blue Devils to a 21-0 record and a regional title. A week later Waynflete knocked off Calais 59-55 in the state game when Martha Veroneau scored her team’s last 16 points.
On the medical front, specialists ruled out the possibility of a spot on his lung but did find calcification around a heart valve that was causing an irregular heartbeat. A procedure to shock the heart back into rhythm was performed.
Doctors also found a leaky valve that would have to be replaced. Redding’s plan was have to that done after summer basketball and after the golf season he enjoys so much in the summer.
But those plans changed when tests revealed his arteries were 95 percent blocked and he needed bypass surgery.
“I had no idea. Doctors said it needs to be done now,” said Redding.
He said the story is kind of like what happened to Denver Broncos Coach John Fox during the season.
But there was one more medical issue for Redding. He suffered a mini-stroke during the procedure and awoke from surgery with a clubbed left foot and no feeling in his left hand.
“That was scary,” he said.
Redding said physical therapy and great work by the staff at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor helped him get all the feeling back.
So when the calendar turned to the fall, there was just one question. Would doctors let him coach?
“I asked that question and the doctor said to wait a month and see how things are,” said Redding. “At my September appointment the doc came in all smiles. He said, ‘Are you ready to coach?’ and I said, ‘yup.’ ”
Entering weekend play, his team seems primed for another state title run with a 9-2 record and a third-place seed.
Redding admits he still gets tired sometimes, especially after a Thursday-Saturday-Tuesday three-game trip to Houlton, Ellsworth and Narraguagus.
That’s about 510 miles on a school bus, enough to tire out any coach.
PRESQUE ISLE GIRLS: After a 65-50 victory against Mt. Desert on Saturday, the Wildcats have a 59-game winning streak.
Presque Isle also hasn’t lost a home game since the 2008-09 season, covering 55 games.
TREVOR LYFORD, a Penquis Valley senior, scored his 1,000th career point in an overtime victory against Hermon this week.
Lyford also scored the last tournament point at the Bangor Auditorium last winter when the Patriots beat Boothbay Region for the state title.