The girls' varsity basketball coach has exceeded 300 wins in his 21-year tenure
The clock slowly winds down. With every tick there is a bit of movement from the man on the sideline. He walks up and down the court with anxiety riding his back.
With the sound of the buzzer, applause and screams echo throughout the gym. A modest smile appears on the man's face as he and his players disappear out the gymnasium doors.
The Jan 11 45-39 victory over Gaithersburg High School was not an ordinary win for the girls' varsity basketball team. The game marked Head Coach William Lindsey's 300th win over the span of his 21-year career as a Blair basketball coach. During his time as a coach, Lindsey has had only two seasons below .500 and a winning percentage of 65 percent.
Lindsey came to Blair in 1973 with the intention of coaching football. His first year, Lindsey coached junior varsity football, and then the following year he became head coach of the varsity football team.
Lindsey, who had experience coaching a girls' church team before college, became strongly interested in the girls' basketball team. He was given the head coach position in 1980.
In his first year coaching, the team went to regionals only to lose in the regional finals to Parkdale High School. The following year, the team made a quick rebound from disappointment to domination. Lindsey coached the girls to a 26-0 record and a state championship.
There was great celebration after the state finals victory over Annapolis High School. "I remember being carried across the floor by parents," says Lindsey.
Lindsey, who is presently the only active 4A coach in Montgomery County to hold a state title, credits his overall success to good luck and to the commitment of his players, who he says are willing to put in the time it takes to develop their game.
The success Lindsey's players have had after leaving high school is a testament to his coaching ability. Charlene Thomas, a former guard from 1981 to 1984, is presently the assistant coach of the WNBA's Orlando Miracle and was a two-time All-Met and a Parade All-American while at Blair.
1996 graduate Peppi Browne, an All-Met in 1995 and 1996, went on to star at Duke University and was later a WNBA draft pick.
When you've been here as long as Lindsey, you have the opportunity to see many faces come and go. Sometimes, though, the faces come back years later. Three years ago, former Blair center Tracy Wyche returned to take the position of JV head coach. Wyche, a player on the team from 1984 to 1988, feels Lindsey had a huge impact on her game and her growth as a person. She says Lindsey helped perfect her hook shot as well as build her confidence. "We had more than a player-coach relationship. He was like a father," says Wyche.
Wyche's own father, LaMonte Wyche, now the assistant varsity coach and JV head coach at Blair, remembers why he wanted his daughter to go to Blair, even though other schools were recruiting her. After observing Lindsey, Wyche says he was impressed with the emphasis Lindsey placed on the total development of his players. "He teaches the game of basketball to teach [the team] about life," says Wyche.
Lindsey says the most rewarding aspect of coaching is watching the progress of his players. "You're taking an individual and trying the best you can to influence and develop them in positive ways, whether they're your Peppi Browne or any other player," says Lindsey. "And it's a pleasure that you may have influenced someone."
Lindsey continues to assist his players as well as other students off the court as a guidance counselor at Blair. This experience has helped him with his coaching, according to senior co-captain Ashley Morefield. Morefield feels a coach must be able to expect the unexpected and being a guidance counselor makes Lindsey more understanding of the problems that arise while coaching a basketball team.
Lindsey assures that his game clock won't be stopping any time soon. He expects to prowl the sidelines for at least another four years, watching his players grow and all the while adding to an already superb career.
Colby Chapman. Colby Chapman is a junior page editor and sports writer for Silver Chips. She plays basketball and runs track for Blair, and she plays the piano as well. She is very committed to her academics but takes great pride in her athletics. More »