Byers won his players' attention Boys Coach of the Year

March 19, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

He comes with a lot of discipline, a vast knowledge of the X's and O's, a strong appreciation of basketball and 220 wins in 22 years of coaching in Carroll County.

He lets everybody know from Day One who is in charge and that the practices belong to him.

The games belong to the players.

Once that is understood, no one has trouble playing for $l Westminster coach Dave Byers.

Byers will push his players to the limit, but only so "they can be the best they can be."

In February, Byers pushed the Owls to their limit; they responded with a seven-game winning streak that landed them a fifth seed in the Class 4A, Region I tournament.

Even though Westminster lost in the first round to Quince Orchard and finished 14-9, Byers proved again that he can motivate and coach high school basketball players.

That is why he is the runaway choice for The Baltimore Sun's Carroll County Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.

No other boys team in the county came close to having a .500 record.

In spite of this being a new era when athletes like to have more say about what they are and aren't going to do, Byers sticks

close to the guidelines he learned as a high school player under Cokey Robertson at Westminster and as a college player for Vince Angotti at Towson State.

"I played in the '60s, when the coach did all the talking and the players listened," Byers said. "I don't care what kind of knowledge you have of the game, you must have the attention of your players."

Byers gets that attention, but he also allows them to have just enough fun to make the season enjoyable.

"I'm not the players' buddy," he said. "We don't talk about girls and things like that. We do talk about basketball in the locker room. But on the court during practice, I do the talking. It isn't a debate over what we're going to do and how we're going to do it. I make those decisions."

Byers believes that the fun starts for his players when they get to perform in front of their classmates, friends and family.

"There's not much a coach can do during a game, except call a timeout or take a player out of a game," he said. "You're not going to suddenly put in a new trick play that you haven't used in practice. Every time I've tried that in the past, it hasn't worked."

With the players on the floor to use what they've learned in practice, Byers said all he can do is sit back and watch or yell at the officials.

"There's no way for the emotion to come out on the sidelines, except by yelling at the refs," he said. "And that usually gets you nowhere except a technical."

So, the coach usually waits for practices to express himself.

"I really enjoy myself in practice," he said. "As long as I enjoy the practices, I'll keep on coaching."

At a school that has come on lean times recently in football and wrestling, Byers still is having a good run on the basketball court.

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