Basketball was still bouncing back at the Memorial Gymnasium on the campus of Mount St. Mary’s University on Thursday night, less than 48 hours after the death of legendary head coach Jim Phelan. The sneakers were still squeaking, the jumpers were still reaching their goals, and the players were still competing. The defending Northeast Conference Champion participated in a mid-week pickup game at the old gym where Ferrand built the Mountaineer program. They competed as fiercely as Ferrand had coached for 49 years and head coached a beautiful campus just south of the Mason-Dixon line.
It’s all the same way the coach wanted.
Ferrand won 830 games at Mount during his 49-year career from 1954 to his retirement after the 2002-03 season. Notable at any time, and totally ridiculous in today’s revolving door coaching world, Ferrand coached them all on Mount. St Mary’s. When Ferrand took over in the spring of 1954, the program won 471 games in 45 seasons under 16 different head coaches. By the time Ferran coached his last match, the school had a basketball identity. The total number of wins has almost tripled to 1,301 under his guidance.
No one has won as many games as Jim Ferrand at Mount St. Mary’s when he died. That’s not all that surprising given that he’s always ranked 13th on the NCAA’s winning list. But what I wanted to say was that Jim Ferrand had more victories than anyone else on Mount St. Mary’s. His 830 wins are 112 more than the other 21 coaches have won.
In the process, his team reached the NCAA Division 1 Tournament twice and the NCAA Division 2 Final Four five times, winning the national championship in overtime in 1962 in Sacramento.
Those numbers may be surprising, but they are neither the most impressive nor the most important. Those numbers are in the 217 student athletes he has taught and taught over the years. Many people, including doctors, lawyers, investment bankers, and school managers, have been in close contact with Ferrand for years.
“I think it’s one of the big blessings of my life,” said former mountaineer Tony Hayden, who played for Ferran on the phone from his Philadelphia area later this week. “I think what was his flexibility to the people. He didn’t teach everyone the same way. He needed to be more urgent than others, but he went back a bit. I realized that some people had to do it. He was a player coach. “
Ferran grew up in Philadelphia, had an outstanding career in LaSalle, and played briefly for the NBA’s Philadelphia Warriors before becoming a coach. His first coaching job was at his alma mater as an assistant for a season from 1953 to 1954. LaSalle won the national championship of the season. Ferran headed for Emmitsburg shortly thereafter, but never left.
Hayden joined the team a year after Mount first traveled to the NCAA Big Dance and played against Kentucky in the previous year’s NCAA tournament. At a press conference prior to the tournament action, fans began to see some of the Ferrans that Hayden thought might have been hidden, the fact that Ferrans were “interesting, really entertaining.”
His sense of humor was exhibited at a press conference before the tournament. Consistent with the difficult task of playing a prestigious Wildcat, Ferrand said: “There are 10 McDonald’s All-Americans in Kentucky. There are 10 people who eat at McDonald’s.”
Players who have always been considered aggressive coaches are more likely to get spots on the bench for failed shots than missed shots.
Silas Cheung shot the 1995 team into the NCAA tournament, illuminating the rider’s alumni gymnasium with five late effectors on the way to the 19-point NCAA Bid NEC tournament MVP production activity.
“He would say,’Cyrus, if you’re not going to shoot it, you’d better be next to me. That’s why you’re there,” Chan recalled.
Cheung also talked about a recent visit he shared with Phean and his wife Dottie about a month and a half ago.
“He’s very real. They’re both just great people. Dottie is always very sweet. I’m very grateful to have met them recently.”
He recalled Ferran’s efforts and pointed out that he always made time for his players, and that he set an example as much as his words.
“He just wanted to help turn you into a good person, a good father, a good person. He helped you through things. If you fell, you woke up. He was always yours. I’ve confirmed that I have time for it, “Chan said.
When the news of Ferran’s death spread on Tuesday, many who knew him, played for him, or played against him and coached with him or on the bench on the other side, were on social media. He went and expressed his memories, sadness and praise for him. Among them was one of Mount’s greatest Riley Inge ever and a starting point guard against the NCAA tournament game Kentucky. Inge shared two stories he had held so far about Ferran’s serious impact on life. A summary of Inge’s Facebook post is included here with his permission.
Inge remembered attending Mount in the middle of the season during the second semester of school, attending classes along the way, and in some cases continuing the course for the first semester. He said his professors were concerned about the situation and that a meeting had taken place between President Robert Wickenheiser, Ferran himself, and various department heads. He remembers feeling uncomfortable and unnecessary when Ferrand said: You all get paid to teach your students. Riley is a student here now. Tell him what he needs to know. I guarantee he will graduate from Mount St. Mary’s. “
The word gave Inge a chill. He admits that at that moment he didn’t intend to graduate. He went to the NBA, had a productive career and was thinking of becoming a coach.
“But when he guaranteed my graduation, I felt like I couldn’t lie to him and disappoint him.”
Inge graduated in 1998. Inge also said he graduated two years after his qualification expired, but Ferran confirmed that he had a chance even when he couldn’t win the basket or win the game. Inge said Ferrand had promised Inge’s mother. Inge closed his post as follows:
I say he cares for his people and he was a special man. If you were lucky enough to know him or get guidance from him, you were a lucky person. Again, thank you to the coach who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. — Inge
Frequently walk-ons, regardless of ability, do not get a lot of play time on college basketball teams. Having not offered a Division 1 scholarship when he graduated from St. Joseph Prep in Philadelphia, Hayden received the same opportunity for Ferran to give his players a scholarship. Options that may not have occurred with another coach. Hayden started on the first day.
“He did it a little differently,” Hayden admitted. “He certainly planned his own course, like a bowtie.”
Oh yes, bowtie. Ferran’s signature bowtie. In honor of Ken Loeffler, a college coach who wore a bowtie, Ferrand wore a bowtie in his first match. Mount won. So he wore it in the next game. Mount wins again and tradition is born. He wore a bow tie for all but one season. He gave it up when his daughter said it was “gross”, but the featureless season of defeat returned the bowtie the following year.
When talking to coaches, especially those who are nearing the end of their career or who are already coaching, they always find that they are losing more than winning. They are hard to shake. Ferran had a way to turn pages and move on.
With Ferrand, who always seemed to be deeply connected to his love and dedication to his family. His wife Dottie and his five children have always been at the center of Ferran’s equation. It’s true that all the players I talked to recently grew up.
Jamion Christians played in the last three teams of Ferrand. Christian’s first head coach job will take place on Mount St. Mary’s, and he will be head coaching George Washington for the third season this season. He said he was trying to bring much of the same thing he saw on Ferran to the player.
“As a coach, the way you live around and in front of a player is important. When you look at a coach, the relationship he had with his family and he incorporated you into that family. How. He cares about you very much and what is best for you. He will fight for it for you, “said George Washington Head Coach Jamion Christian. It was.
My roots in Mount are deep. Ferrand’s 1981 team was a glorious group that fascinated me. The aggressive style and excitement of the Memorial Gymnasium, especially the night of March 7, 1981, fascinated me. I was shy for two weeks from my 8th birthday and I was impressed. And the scene that unfolded that night was unrealistic.
Mount, who played in the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional Final with Elizabeth City, had to evaporate his slow lead, drag one with two seconds left, move the floor length to score higher, survive and move forward. was.
As Mark Purdy wrote following his victory at the Gettysburg Times on Monday:
Director Jim Ferrand had a plan. (Dennis) So did Dempsey.
As the story went on, Dempsey struck a defender and tried to foul inbound play. Ferrand simply designed the play, hoping that the waves on the half-court would fall. Dempsey, who actually tried the play earlier in the week but failed, was convinced that Ferran was worth a whirlwind. He was right. Defenders of Elizabeth City invaded Dempsey and the referee called a foul. Dempsey calmly made a free throw, and the devastating ECSU team called for a time-out. Mount made more free throws and ran out of time.
“We didn’t call the play. He called it,” Ferran said of the heroes that followed.
So I became a mount fan.
But it is the family culture that has supported me. The family culture that Jim Phelan used to build the basketball program. This is what every individual I’ve talked about Ferrand in the last few days has in front of their hearts.
A really special family culture. A truly infectious family culture. A family culture that has begun to move in every way by the Hall of Famer. The family culture that continues.
“Our family culture has been passed down at Mount,” said current head coach Dan Engelstad on Friday. “Director Ferrand told Brown about it and blessed him, and he told me that. Family dynamics were always important here. I want to leave it alone. The family Being close makes the trip more enjoyable. I want him to be proud of the way I live, not just the words. “
One day, and based on what I’ve seen in that pick-up game, it may be sooner or later, Mount wins the 1,661th time in school history. With that victory, all other coaches will eventually win more than Jim Phelan.
As fans of Mount St. Mary, we do what we do with victory.
Wear a bow tie and remember how you got there.
Jim Phelan’s influence extends far beyond the basketball court | Sports
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