Wolverine mentor is boys Coach of the YearMar 31, 2013 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer
Dick Quayle, who led the Riverton Wolverine boys basketball team to the most single-season wins in school history, has been named the Fremont County boys basketball coach of the year by the sports staffs of The Ranger, Lander Journal and Wind River News.
Quayle, in his third season at the helm of the Wolverines, began coaching in 1982 as a girls basketball coach with Dennis VanDenbos at Wind River High School. He credits several former coaches as being positive influences during his coaching career.
"My dad deserves a lot of credit. He was involved in basketball all the time. Coach Mike Harris (Quayle's Riverton High School coach) deserves an awful lot of credit. He helped me through high school and taught me a lot about high school and a lot about life. Tony Masters (Quayle's next-door neighbor as a child and former Central Wyoming College head coach) was excellent in teaching the game and helping me. Jim Kennedy had a good influence on me too. He was an excellent coach in terms of motivating and getting a lot out of kids. You get a lot of influence from a lot of good people," Quayle said.
He decided to become an educator and coach during college after first thinking that he wanted to be an engineer.
"I spent a lot of time talking to my mom and dad growing up because they were both teachers, and that rubbed off on me. I don't think they were too happy that I went into that area. I was interested in it and thought that it would be an enjoyable career, and it sure has been," Quayle said.
Pavillion to Riverton
Quayle, who still teaches at Wind River High School, has coached multiple sports and served as activities director for the Cougars. During the season, Quayle makes the trip from Pavillion every day to get to RHS in time for practice.
"It's worked out pretty well. The hardest thing is not being in the building with the kids so that you get to talk with them directly. My school at Wind River, and Riverton, have been helpful. Both have bent over backward for me, and I sure appreciate it," Quayle said.
Known for his calm demeanor during games, Quayle says that he enjoys practices the most.
Best and worst
Quayle said there is much to enjoy about coaching, but there also are difficult times.
"The greatest thing is dealing with the kids, and that's sometimes the hardest thing too. There is nothing worse than having to tell a kid that you don't think they are good enough or that you don't think they can help you. Those are the hardest decisions that you make in coaching. I absolutely detest that every year, but we haven't had to do that much at Riverton. We've actually have been able to start every player at least once. I feel comfortable about that but at the same time, I feel it's a loss when you let someone go. It is the reality of the sport. You can't play everybody. It's not like football," Quayle said.
Quayle had the rare opportunity to coach both of his sons at the varsity level this season. Senior Seth Quayle, the Fremont County boys basketball player of the year, and sophomore Chris Quayle both played important roles for the Wolverines.
Coach Quayle is married to Jodi. Their daughter, Katie, was an all-state player for the Lady Wolverines.
Quayle believes his greatest strength as a coach is his ability to use the people around him. He gives tremendous credit to current and former assistant coaches Stuart Mullins, Beau Sheets, Tim Bell and Matt Mortimer, along with volunteer Curtis Condie.
"I think we can get a lot out of people who know things like they do. One of the best things I can do as a coach is to use those guys. The success that we had this year was not my success, it was our success," Quayle said.
As much success as Quayle's Wolverines had this season -- they finished as the Class 4-A West regular season conference champions and ended the year with a 24-5 record and a second-place state tournament finish -- it was that final game, a 54-50 loss to Evanston for the state championship, that still keeps the veteran coach up at night. "As soon as we beat Gillette, we were in trouble. It's hard to win a game like that with emotions so high and have to use the energy that we had to use to beat them, and than come back and play the next day. (Gillette) was probably as good a win as I have had," Quayle said.
Quayle plans to return to coach the Wolverines next season and is already looking forward to the challenge of keeping Riverton, with a full slate of summer work, as one of the state's top basketball contenders -- including working on what he believes are his weakness.
"I don't think I'm tough enough when I need to be. I don't think I'm a very good game coach.
I think I'm good at developing kids and getting them to play hard," Quayle said.
The longtime coach added that he plans to continue coaching after his days as head coach are over, perhaps at the middle-school level.
"I just like the game and I always will. It's the best game, and it gave me a lot. I would like to give as much back to it as I can," Quayle said.
Quayle should realize that he has already accomplished that goal, and then some.
"I've enjoyed every year I've ever had as coaching. I don't feel like this year was super above any other. It's been a lot of fun," Quayle said.