March 22, 2011

Steve Solloway: Stand-up guy steps out at Colby

By Steve Solloway ssolloway@pressherald.com
Columnist

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

He was the head of the Colby basketball family for 40 years, the man who forged relationships as well as winning teams. So when Dick Whitmore won the 600th of his 637 victories two years ago, Adam Choice and his teammates, as well as fans, paid him homage.

Courtesy Colby College

click image to enlarge

Dick Whitmore's legacy will rest in more than numbers, which were outstanding. They will rest in the teaching he provided to so many.

Jeff Earickson/Colby College

THE WHITMORE FILE

40 years at Colby

637-341 as basketball coach

Seventh all-time in career wins among NCAA Division III men's basketball coaches

Began the 2010-11 season ranked 46th in all NCAA divisions for career wins

From 1989 to 1995, Colby accumulated a 154-26 record and seven straight 20-plus-win season

A 1965 graduate of Bowdoin, where he scored more than 1,000 points in his varsity career

IN 1970 ...

Dick Whitmore started at Colby

Richard Nixon was president

The Vietnam war was raging

Four war protesters were killed at Kent State when National Guardsmen fired into the crowd

Top movie: "Love Story"

Top TV show: "Marcus Welby, M.D."

The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup

Gallon of gas: 36 cents

First-class stamp: 6 cents

Not to say that winning wasn't important.

Friends of Kevin Whitmore would be incredulous when he told them the coach with the glare that could shatter glass and the voice that could make the devil jump was related to him.

"I'd hear it a lot. 'That crazy guy is your father?' They didn't see his devotion to his players, to Colby, to coaching."

Kevin Whitmore transferred from Dartmouth College to Colby and played for his father. Colby won its second ECAC championship in his senior year, beating Babson easily. "I heard my father say, 'I didn't even have to coach today.' That kind of encapsulated him and his approach. He deflected all the accolades to his players but he was responsible for making us so well-prepared."

This past weekend, Dick Whitmore and his wife visited their children. Richard and his family in Hanover, N.H., Kevin and his family in South Portland, and their sisters Maribeth and Amanda in Somersworth, N.H., and Old Orchard Beach.

At each stop, Whitmore told his children his decision to stop coaching.

"I was shocked but not surprised," said Kevin Whitmore. "It was 'wow, this is the end.' "

On the trip back to Waterville, Dick Whitmore stopped to see one his seven grandchildren, Katie Whitmore, play in an AAU basketball game at Maranacook High in Readfield. Katie is in the fourth grade.

"It was the first time I saw her play in a basketball game. I enjoyed it."

Whitemore's office overlooking the basketball court isn't much larger than a freshman dorm room at Colby. Forty years of photos and mementos shouldn't take too long to pack in another three weeks or so.

Forty years of memories and relationships will never be packed away.

 

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

ssolloway@pressherald.com

 

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