Poet society of coaches Basketball: Three of his former players are using Bob Wade's Dunbar dogma as a blueprint for a second generation of coaching success.

January 18, 1998|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Part of the legacy from Bob Wade's days as Dunbar basketball coach is conflicting feelings. He would have to decide which pro or college games involving his former players he wanted to watch, and if former players were on opposing teams, he might have to decide which team to root for.

These days, Wade faces the same conflict, with a twist.

His son Daryl at City College, Rodney Coffield at Douglass and Herman Harried at Lake Clifton make up a trio of Wade's former players who coach in the city his Dunbar teams once dominated.

Wade got a bit of practice in loyalty distribution in the days before City's victory over Douglass last month.

Coffield called looking for advice. Wade listened and dispensed the advice before he realized that the advice might end up hurting his son's team.

"He might call and ask for my opinion," Wade said of Coffield, who finished playing for Dunbar in 1981 and is in his second season at Douglass. "I find myself giving out little tips. But I told him some things to work on, and I had to catch myself because he was playing City the next week."

Wade felt so strongly about the need to be neutral that he made sure to attend a game as far away from City as possible.

"It was between two kids -- one being my son, and the other I called my fourth son," said Wade, 53, who supervises athletic programs for Baltimore City schools. He ended up going to Southwest Baltimore to see Northwestern play Edmondson while City was beating Douglass.

The next generation

Other coaches in the city who coached against Wade a decade ago see the entrance of his former players into coaching as an affirmation of their profession.

"It's really gratifying to see the guys coaching, because I know what Bob stood for and what kind of program he had," Mervo coach Woody Williams said after a win over Coffield's Douglass team. "To see those guys go into coaching means it [playing for Wade] had to have been a positive experience during their formative years."

Gus Herrington, whose Walbrook team lost by 50 to Lake Clifton and Harried, also has coached against the three and identified one difference and similarity between the coaches and their mentor. "Herman is a laid-back type of guy, Rodney's a laid-back type of guy," Herrington said. "But Daryl's a spitting image of his father. He's a screamer and a hollerer."

All three displayed an ability to work with youths that predated any coaching aspirations. Wade said that he saw coach-like qualities in all three during their time at Dunbar, noting that they all asked more than the average amount of questions.

"All three of the guys were students of the game," Wade said. "Not only did they play the game, they taught the game."

Daryl Wade, 30, a senior on Dunbar's 1984-85 mythical national champions, grew up with coaching and had an up-close view of the effect his father had on young people.

So after working several years in the Department of Public Works as a computer technician, Daryl jumped at the chance to work for Williams, coaching Mervo's JV team from 1990 to 1995.

"I fell in love with being able to motivate young men as I'd seen my father do," Daryl Wade said of his dad, who also played football for the Baltimore Colts and coached basketball at the University of Maryland. "I never had great basketball players, but I'd had good basketball teams because they played hard for me. I enjoyed that."

Coffield, 35, got pulled in with Wade, who wanted him to assist his JV team at Dunbar. But Coffield, who played at Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania, had been working with younger players since he was in high school.

It was during that time -- while working at a summer camp, then in a summer jobs program -- that he knew that he could connect with youths.

"I saw that the kids got excited, and it's positive when the kids are excited about what they're doing, whether that's athletics or academics," Coffield said.

With a criminal justice degree, he came to Douglass to be a school police officer more so than to be a coach. He says that his role in leading a dozen youths eases the burden of a job dealing with several hundred.

"This is just an extension of working with the kids [as a police officer]," Coffield said. "It's real important for me to work with the kids here, because I am a police officer."

Of the three, Harried, 32, may have been the least likely coach, even though he conducted annual camps at Cecil-Kirk Recreation Center in East Baltimore and taught the game at schools in England during his professional career overseas.

Harried was the sixth man on Dunbar's 1982-83 mythical national championship team and played forward for Syracuse's 1986-87 NCAA national runner-up. While playing, he mentioned that he'd be interested in coaching someday, but he said that it was a throwaway line.

That was before then-Loyola and current Michigan interim coach Brian Ellerbe called, asking Harried to join his staff.

Just weeks away from heading overseas for another season, Harried decided to stay put.

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