N-G Coach of the Year: Dave Beery

N-G Coach of the Year: Dave Beery

Coach of the year:

Monticello’s Dave Beery

Why he’s Coach of the Year: For the last three seasons, the sectional semifinals have stonewalled the Sages. But behind relentless defense, Beery’s team won the Okaw Valley Conference championship and made a sectional final this year.Season highlights: “Finding out that Tatum McCall was coming back to school at Monticello, winning our Holiday Hoopla in convincing fashion against a very good Ridgeview team that was undefeated at the time, winning our fourth regional in a row and making it to the Sweet 16 with a sectional win against a very good Oakwood team.”

Favorite food: A big ol’ juicy steak, T-bone or New York strip.

First car: A 1968 Ford Mustang, which should have been a sweet car at the time; unfortunately, it was a rust bucket.

Favorite non-sports hobby: Drum corps. My son Alex and my daughter Sophia both enjoy it, so it’s something we can do together.

Favorite restaurant in the area: Makin’ Pizza in Bement. Used to be Mama B’s. My favorite pizza in central Illinois.

Favorite/dream vacation destination: To a resort somewhere near Tulum or Akumal, Mexico, relaxing on the beach with my wife and wondering if I’ll ever dare to go fishing with Tacho again.

Favorite sporting event attended live: Toss-up between my wife’s seventh-grade team beating Eureka in the state championship game to finish the season undefeated, in 2002 when the U of I basketball team throttled North Carolina 95-67 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and when the Patriots came back to beat the Bears 33-30 at the game played at Memorial Stadium.

Favorite pro/college teams: New England Patriots (I’ve been a fan since Jim Plunkett was the QB. Tony Eason was the QB at the U of I when I was in school there, and when he went to the Patriots I became a hardcore fan). St. Louis Cardinal baseball, been a fan since I was a kid. My dad raised me right and made sure I understood what good baseball was all about. U of I basketball, I played a lot of basketball with Quinn Richardson my senior year. He had redshirted because he was rehabbing from a knee injury. He came back the next year and helped them nearly make it to the Final Four. They lost to Kentucky in a great game with a controversial finish in Lexington, Ky. Quinn hit a shot with about 20 seconds to go to make it 52-50 Kentucky. Illinois then trapped Dicky Beal on the sideline and he definitely traveled. Bruce Douglas then tied him up but the ref called a foul. Two missed calls in a matter of seconds and Illinois lost the game in a bitter defeat. Been a U of I basketball fan forever.

Favorite band/musician: The Police and Sting or listening to Pork and the Havana Ducks with the Great Cassout.

Three things or my bucket list: Take a river cruise with my wife, dad and stepmom on the Mosel River from Trier to Koblenz, Germany, and visit the Max Ferd Richter winery, then travel by train to Aying, Germany (near Munich), to visit the Ayinger Brewery, and finish with another river cruise on the Danube from Passau, Germay, to Budapest, Hungary. Go out west with the wife and kids and visit the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, then on to Colorado to visit friends and family and take the Narrow Gauge Railroad from Durango to Silverton. Take a weeklong golfing trip to the Prairie Golf Club in Valentine, Neb.

What I enjoy most about coaching: “I really enjoy practices — working on things, trying to find ways to get better. I enjoy the sights and sounds of basketball: the smell of the popcorn, the squeaking tennis shoes, the ambiance of the gyms and the crowd noise. I like watching kids develop and improve as players and seeing them mature mentally and emotionally. They come in as young kids and graduate, hopefully, as mature young adults ready to face the next set of challenges. I also enjoy connecting with those kids that can be selfless enough and coachable enough to put the team ahead of their own agenda. That takes an uncommon, special maturity that will separate them from the rest of the crowd as they become adults. That’s one of the reasons our boys’ team was able to do so well this year — they were all in it for each other. That single thing alone can make coaching the most enjoyable endeavor — to be a part of a group that is all in it for each other. When that happens, the winning and losing becomes secondary.“I also enjoy talking to other coaches and picking their brains for ideas and suggestions. I feel like I am constantly evaluating what we are doing and how we are doing things — whether it’s drills, or how we approach something on offense or defense, or how we can improve the culture of our team and our basketball program. I am lucky to have some really great mentors — my wife, Coach Moss, Coach Welter and Coach Kohlbecker. All of them are Hall of Fame-caliber coaches from whom I can glean information and perspective. I was lucky to have Jeff Butler, a Hall of Fame coach, and Rich Wilson as assistant coaches this year from whom I was able to learn a lot. Coach Welter, Coach Dickerson (our softball coach) and I talk a lot about trying to put our kids in the best position for their success and the team’s success. The challenge is trying to get everyone aligned. All that gets much easier when you get back to what I talked about earlier with respect to being in it for each other.”

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