Two hours after the Huskies walked off with a surprisingly lopsided home victory against the 13th-ranked UCLA Bruins that will ensure UW a spot in the Top 25, an Our Lady of the Lake-sponsored CYO team comprises of juniors and seniors from Blanchet High School beat Holy Rosary of West Seattle at the loser's gym by a margin of 100-63. The game was a mismatch, but remained somewhat dramatic as the Lakers closed in on the century mark -- quite a feat in a 32-minute game.
But the game was significant to the Lakers' coach, Paul Seely. Paul happens to be my father, and has coached CYO basketball for as long as I can remember. My brothers and I figured he would stop coaching once we graduated from Our Lady of the Lake (a Catholic K-8 school in Wedgwood), but boy were we wrong. With the exception of a stray year or two, Paul has taken an OLL team each year. Some teams he takes because there's no one else to coach them; with others, like his current high school squad (he also coaches an eighth grade team), he acts as talent magnet, and often wins his league.
The key to my dad's success as a coach, other than his players, to whom he gives all (okay, most) of the credit, is his defensive schemes. He prefers his teams to play a 2-3 zone, but makes sure they're nimble enough to switch to a 3-2 or 1-3-1 trap should an opponent have a particularly deft perimeter player. Another key is the movie Hoosiers, which he watches several times per year to remind himself where the light is at the end of the tunnel.
The win against Holy Rosary marked his 300th as a CYO basketball coach. This is according to his own meticulous records, because records of such accomplishments at such a level simply aren't kept. But it's an exceptional achievement nonetheless, and one that, along the way, has enriched the lives of many young men. Congrats, Dad. You've come a long way since we used to get our asses handed to us by St. Brendan's.