A legend of the fall - Seaford coach Ron Dickerson passes away

Coaches share stories not practice plans
October 8, 2019

Captain Dick - Coach Ron Dickerson passed away Oct. 5. The man known as Captain Dick led the Blue Jays for 28 years, starting in 1983, and won the state Division I title in 1981, the Division II title in 1983, and reached the finals in 1982 and 1993. Dickerson’s Seaford teams won the Henlopen Conference nine times. He retired with 191 wins. He was Seaford’s baseball coach for seven years with a record of 102-26. He also served as Seaford’s athletic director. Dickerson was inducted into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. The sports bio runs deep, but the man runs deeper. Captain Dick was a character who loved being around other coaches. He had a great sense of humor, but changing a defense to adjust to his formations was like stepping into a spring-loaded bear trap. I was defensive coordinator for Cape 1985-88. I created the Rainbow Demolition Defense and thought I was pretty good. We were playing at Seaford, and I had analytically scouted them by tendencies to formations. We adjusted wide with linebackers walked away to some spread I had never seen. It was third and 20 and the instant before the ball was snapped I had a premonition, “we are screwed.” It was guard trap and fullback Wade Jones who ran all the way to Pocomoke. Another time at Cape, Dickerson got tossed from the game for arguing with an official. Watching Captain Dick doing the perp walk out of the stadium just didn’t look right. He floated through the mist, then stopped at the concession stand and got a hot dog. “Greatest move ever,” I said respectfully. That coaching crew at Seaford, the crux of which included Ben Sirman, John Hollis, Ted Shepard, Norman Poole, Ron Keiser, Len Chasanov, Dave Baker and others, was great and they just wore Cape out over the years. Also on football staff  was Bill Lloyd and former players  Dwight Belcher, Ed Higgins, Craig and Marc Dickerson  and Trey Sirman Captain Dick was laid back and humble, a very smart guy who loved to share stories with other coaches and just laugh. Occasionally, he’d hang 50 or even 80 on an opponent because he had the crazy coach gene. You can’t expect a piranha not to bite. 

Critical commentating - I’ve done color commentating for football and basketball on small market radio stations. A talent of mine is I can sound smart. But underlying the self-assured tone of voice resides a guy who may not know what he’s talking about. There’s a fine line to walk from offering insight to sounding like a critical fan or second-guessing expert. A writer like me can enter the game wherever he wants and spin the story with a smattering of actual facts to anchor it. I always say, “the better the team, the more people who want to coach it,” but when things are not going well, more people line up to criticize. Sports will mule kick you in the head before the mule is ejected for targeting. 

Drinking problems - The Dogfish Dash has 2,636 finishers and all those runners have a drinking problem which is why there are so many water stops on the five-mile course and why you get your own personal bottle when you finish. Local Jules Woodall won the 70-and-over male title in 42:49, while JoAnn Szezepkowski won the same age group for women in 45:17. Sadie Tunnell was the 14-19 winner in 41:40. Susan Dunn was champion in 40-49 in 35:07. The Dewey Goes Pink 5K had 1,704 finishers. The race was won by Francisco Puac in 16:50, followed by 15-year-old Hunter Jones in 17:22 and Mike Marciano in 18:25. Michele Karsnitz was the women’s winner in 20:05. Emily Trout, 16 years old from Sussex Academy, was fifth in 21:05. The Dogfish Dash and Dewey Goes Pink are great big races, but not great races in terms of attracting elite talent. For that, you need to offer prize money and free shoes, which is an entirely different concept.   

Snippets - October playoff baseball at the major league level is just the best. It’s more relaxing and reassuring to watch than five days of endless “huge” football games. The choreographed celebrating in the end zone after every score and turnover in the NFL falls somewhere between cool and lame. Question asked and answered I think. The top 10 rated high school football teams in Southeastern Pennsylvania include, from top to bottom,  St. Joe’s Prep, Downingtown West, Lasalle, Coastesville, Neumann-Goretti and Episcopal Academy, North Penn, Downingtown East, Northeast and Central Bucks West. Episcopal beat Salesianum 21-7, as quarterback Maurcus McDaniel rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Marcus Robinson, who played at Cape last year, is an outside linebacker for Sallies. Hunter Simmons, also formerly of Cape, is their placekicker. DIAA member schools pay a fee to be part of the reporting system, then some schools don’t enter data, believing they are providing a scouting report to opponents. Talk about paranoid. Go on now, git!   

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