While it’s an absolute honor for Lynden Christian’s Roger DeBoer, Squalicum’s Dave Dickson and Lynden’s Brian Roper to be entering the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Thursday, July 28, all three said it’s an even bigger honor to be going in as a group.
“It’s going to be really neat to be going in with these two guys,” DeBoer said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for them as coaches and colleagues, but more importantly I consider both friends. They’re both guys I think of as pillars of our profession. They’re guys I’d like to have my own kids play for.”
All three said they realize that even though they will be the focal point of the evening, none of them could have made it alone. Each has a long list of mentors, administrators, assistant coaches and players to thank for helping them get to where they are today.
And all three said they absolutely couldn’t have had a Hall of Fame career without their wives — behind-the-scenes people who rarely get any notice.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
“Dave, Roger and I were standing outside the gym (earlier this month) after a summer tournament and just kind of reminiscing,” Roper said. “We were talking about how you have to go the extra mile to help your teams be a success. That’s not always easy to do, and we all kind of realized you have to have a Hall of Fame wife at home who supports the commitment you have to make.”
Combined, the trio have been head coaches for 71 years, but they’ve been married a combined 88 years.
“Jill has always been there for our kids when they were growing up,” said Roper, who’s been married for 29 years. “There’s been challenges trying to balance family and the work this job requires. Jill’s been super supportive of me. When you come home from a tough loss, it’s nice to know that you are loved unconditionally at home.”
Dickson said Jamie, his wife of 35 years, “may have had an inkling of what she was getting into when she married me, but I don’t think she understood the whole deal.”
But she hasn’t backed down from the challenge.
“She’s given me unbelievable support,” Dickson said. “She’s there at 95 percent of our games, giving me a sense of support behind the scenes. She’s really good at reading the boys’ body language and telling me if somebody doesn’t look right and that I might want to talk to them. She’s washed more uniforms than you can imagine. I can remember ripping out a pair of pants right before a game and her having to go buy pants and a belt for me for the state basketball tournament – all the kind of stuff that absent-minded professors need.”
DeBoer said Jill, his wife of 24 years, is an important member of the team.
“I would not be the coach I am without the support of my wife at home,” he said. “Sometimes it’s been close to euphoric and sometimes coaching has been really hard on our marriage. For her to support my passion and love of the game ... we are a team. She’s the team mom. We do team stuff together. We look at the team as our ministry. We do this as a team together, and I understand the importance of her role in my life and as a coach.”