Dayton basketball’s been around since 1903, but didn’t take hold until Tom Blackburn arrived in 1947. By his third season, the Flyers were the NIT runner-up, back when the NIT was the main event. When he died in 1964, he’d won 352 games and an NIT crown.
Now get this: the coach before Blackburn, Jim Carter, celebrated his 100th birthday on Saturday.
OK, so Carter was born five years after Blackburn, but hitting 100 years is still something that blows my mind. Think of the all the changes Carter’s seen in his lifetime. And what it must have been like to have been a coach in the ’30 and ‘40s.
We’re in luck. Matthew Schwade from FlyerHoops,net, conducted a lengthy interview with Carter, who was mostly known as a college football player at Purdue before he accepted the Dayton job back in 1939.
Here’s an excerpt:
So he began his coaching duties at the University of Dayton during football’s spring practice in 1939, getting paid a lousy salary of $2500 for the year. That winter, he took over the basketball program that had averaged a little more than four wins the prior four seasons.
UD won four games in his first year, doubling the win total from the year previous. Carter’s first win came in upset fashion, a 59-51 win over a ranked Rhode Island State club. It was the first game of an ambitious road trip that Dayton took to New York City.
“That was a nightmare,” Carter said. “We played a ballgame in Dayton on a Saturday night, and we left the next morning for New York. We played five games in seven days, it was brutal. And I hardly knew the names of my players because we had only played one ball game. We went on an old beat-up bus, oh, it was a trip! We had no way to get our uniforms cleaned. We had one player that lived in Mineola on Long Island, and his mom came and got our uniforms and washed them for us when we played LIU in Long Island.”
If only this would happen today. Love the idea of needing a player’s family to wash jerseys because they couldn’t find a cleaners …
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