Coaches thrive on good-natured rivalry Janis, Dahlan raising verbal volleys to an art

September 26, 1995|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

"This is what will happen," said Marlene Janis, the volleyball coach at Glenelg. "Tuesday [today] we'll joke around."

"Are you speaking for me now?" interrupts Henry Dahlan, the volleyball coach at Mount Hebron. "Go ahead."

"On Wednesday, he won't speak to me," Janis said.

"You liar, you liar," said Dahlan, laughing.

"When you were the coach at Hammond, you wouldn't talk to me," Janis said.

"I'll talk to you," Dahlan said.

Unlike most coaches who see each other just on game days, Dahlan and Janis see each other every working day. They have to. Because they're both physical education teachers at Mount View Middle School, their desks are eight feet apart.

Tomorrow, they'll see each other after school as well, when No. 4 Mount Hebron (2-1) plays host to No. 5 Glenelg (3-0).

"I separate the game from the classroom," said Dahlan. "This is our working relationship. Come game time, though, I want to win in three. I don't care about who's on the other side. It's just another team."

"Yes, that's true," Janis said. "Our working relationship doesn't have anything to do with coaching."

L "But the day after the game, I'll be gloating," Dahlan said.

"I'll be doing the gloating," Janis fired back.

"You think so, huh," Dahlan said. "We'll see."

"Yeah, we'll see," Janis said.

Their verbal volleys are friendly, but make no mistake, Janis and Dahlan are very competitive people.

Will the winner of tomorrow's game feel some compassion toward the loser when they see each other Thursday morning?

"No," Janis said.

"We'll talk about the match, about the good and bad calls that were made," Dahlan said. "We'll talk about who played well and who didn't. We'll be Monday morning quarterbacks. We always rehash the games."

This is the third year Janis and Dahlan have worked together at Mount View.

"I knew Henry somewhat, but not that well, and I wasn't sure how our relationship would be working together and also coaching against each other," Janis said.

Added Dahlan: "I have a little reputation of being. . . ."

"A hothead," said Janis.

"We disagree all the time," Janis said.

On what?

"You name it, whether it's sunny or cloudy out," Janis said. "Henry always thinks he's right. But we do have a shared interest; we talk about volleyball all the time."

"We talk about ideas, how to do things," Dahlan said. "We have different coaching and teaching philosophies. We get ideas from each other."

Their different backgrounds have produced different strategies.

"I have more experience playing," said Janis, "and he's got more experience coaching."

Janis, at 5-foot-8 "and a great vertical leap," still plays competitively.

"She's a very good player . . . for her age group [over 30]," insists Dahlan.

In fact, they had talked about playing together in a two-on-two tournament over the summer, but scheduling conflicts didn't allow it. But they did get together at Janis' house, where Dahlan power-washed her deck and Janis taught Henry's daughter how to windsurf.

Janis is in her 11th year coaching at Glenelg, where her team won a state title in 1992. Dahlan coached for 13 years at Hammond before becoming an assistant coach last year at Mount Hebron. Two years ago, their first year teaching together at Mount View, they met as head coaches. Glenelg easily defeated Hammond.

"They crushed us," Dahlan said. "They made us look real ugly."

This year, Dahlan said his team should be the favorite because it has more seniors.

"I agree they have an older team," Janis said. "We have a young team, but it's a strong team. I think this is our strongest team."

Stronger than the state championship team?

"Yes," Janis said.

"No way," Dahlan said.

"Henry, you have no idea. Anyway, the question wasn't for you."

"It's not better than the team that won the state," Dahlan said.

"Henry," Janis said. "You have no idea."

) "We'll see," Dahlan said.

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