One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about friends of my friends. The post below is the story on a friend of a friend for January 5, 2015.
Scott Colclough is one of my former Assistant Coaches at UNC Pembroke and a long-time friend. Scott is currently a full professor and associate dean at Middle Tennessee State University. Scott has spent over 40 years in education much of it teaching at the university level. Scott graduated from Campbell University and while there developed a life-long friendship with Danny Roberts the Basketball Coach at Campbell from 1969-1983.
Danny Roberts graduated from Campbell (’55), and played both basketball and baseball there. He was inducted into the Campbell Hall of Fame on Oct. 4, 2003. After earning his Master’s Degree at the University of North Carolina in 1959, Roberts began his coaching career on the junior high and high school levels. He returned to Campbell in 1963 as head golf coach and assistant to basketball coach Fred McCall. He was three times named NAIA District 29 Golf Coach of the Year.
However, Roberts’ greatest contribution came in his 15 years as head men’s basketball coach. After taking over for Coach McCall midway through the 1968-69 season, Roberts guided the Fighting Camels to a school-record 233 victories. Three times selected as NAIA District 29 Coach of the Year, Roberts guided his teams to a pair of NAIA National Tournament appearances. His 1970 squad advanced to the NAIA tourney in Kansas City. The 1977 team made an historic run through the event, becoming the first un-seeded team in NAIA history to reach the finals. He guided Campbell through its first six years of NCAA Division I basketball competition, before stepping down to serve once again as golf coach and physical education instructor. After leaving the University in 1987, he returned to his native Randolph County and guided Eastern Randolph High School’s basketball team to 100 victories and two conference titles in five years. Danny just celebrated his 80th birthday and lives in Lillington, NC.
NAIA basketball in the state of North Carolina in the 60’s-70’s-80’s had rich tradition of great teams, players, and coaches. Players included Earl Monroe, M.L Carr, Gene Littles, Henry Logan, Dwight Durante, Joe Gallagher, John Drew, and Artis Gilmore just to name a few. The coaches were legendary and they included Jack Jensen, Jerry Steele, Sam Moir, Eddie Holbrook, Clarence “Big House” Gaines, Danny Roberts and probably the craziest of all Elon’s Bill Miller.
The Friend-SCOTT COLCLOUGH
The Friend of the Friend-DANNY ROBERTS
Scott’s story on Danny Roberts coaching against Bill Miller-Elon College
Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s small college basketball was nothing like you see today. The gyms were small and the crowds large. The officiating was questionable and home cooking was often the order of the day when you played on the road. The talent was fabulous schools that are Division I today in North Carolina were all small schools. Elon, Western Carolina, Gardner-Webb, High Point, UNC Asheville, and Campbell were all part of NAIA.
Campbell played a basketball game at Elon. Elon’s basketball coach name was Bill Miller and he was legendary in the state for being eccentric to say the least. Coach Miller was a great teacher of the game. His teams played hard and were very well coached. His antics on the sidelines were epic and the word on the street was that officials were intimated by Bill.
This game was validating to Danny Roberts that officials at Elon were biased. The game involved a series of block/charge calls that all went against the Camels of Campbell. Danny became more exasperated with each call.
You have to know some things about Danny to appreciate this story fully. He coached at a strict Baptist school where dancing, drinking, and profanity were frowned on. Danny was mild mannered and a southern gentleman. Bill Miller on the other hand was hard charging coach, a man who would take a drink or two or three, and cursed like nobody’s business.
After the 6th block/charge call of the night Danny jumps up and goes to the scorer’s table and states no way that was a block against Campbell but a charge against Elon. The referee heads to scorer’s table and tells Danny to get back to his bench. As Danny walks away he mumbles under his breath that call was terrible. The official shouts out what did you say? Without hesitation Bill Miller jumps off his bench gets right in front of the official and says he just called you a “Son of a Bitch”. The ref blows his whistle and assesses Danny Roberts with a technical foul for something Bill Miller said he said. Danny was incredulous and Bill Miller walked back to his bench smiling.
Life on the road in the NAIA was always interesting just like my friend Danny Roberts.