Last night, Coach Ron Righter won his 400th game in his coaching career at Clarion University. Coach Righter actually is 424-314 overall in his 28 years on the sidelines.
As a coach, I tend to think about all of those possessions. All of those questionable foul calls. All of those long bus rides. The emotional wins. The heartbreaking defeats. The time spent on the road recruiting. The time lost with family.
So is the life of a coach. It is part of the profession. It is part of the passion.
Righter, the winningest coach in Clarion University history, has had 15 seasons of at least 15 wins including three 20-win seasons at Clarion. He led the Golden Eagles to the only PSAC title in school history (2001) and has taken them to three PSAC West titles as well (1997, 2000, 2005).
According to the Clarion University Athletic Website, a humble Righter noted, “to be honest with you, it’s just a number. It’s really more a team award than an individual award. It’s about all the players, assistant coaches, graduate assistant coaches we’ve had here over the last 26 years. It’s about them, and it’s about the guys on this team. They’ve battled hard through difficult times this year. I’m proud of them, and hopefully this is a win we can build off of.”
That is exactly the kind of sentiment that I would expect from a person with the type of character as Coach Righter.
Although my time spent with Coach Righter was brief, I always admired Coach Righter. Not for just the wins, his loyalty to the program, his basketball mind and his incredible stories though, but for him as a person.
Coach Righter was quick to offer a ‘hello’ and ask how you were doing.
— He takes the time.
Coach Righter always had time to listen.
— He cares.
Coach Righter always maintained his professionalism.
— He has self-respect.
Coach Righter always was honest.
— He kept it real.
Coach Righter had perspective and kept his family and faith first.
— He knows what is most important.
Coach Righter smiled, shook your hand and made you feel good about yourself.
— He is simply a nice person.
Coach Righter has coached at college basketball’s highest level with some of the all-time greats but you would never know it. He never talked about himself or his resume. He never made any of the 424 wins about him.
In addition, as a young coach with ambitions and a vision, Coach Righter made me feel good about myself as a person and a coach. He respected my opinion and offered to help me in any way he could to further my career. For that offer I am forever thankful and appreciative to him.
As I continue my coaching career, I hope I am fortunate enough to have the same type of positive influence that Coach Righter has had with his family, his coaching staff, and countless student-athletes that he has impacted.
Congratulations on your 4ooth win at Clarion, Coach Righter.
You are right it is just a number…A number to be very proud of.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo