A friend of a friend-Ray Scharf-Butch Estes-January 17

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 17, 2015.

When I started out in coaching in 1975 I began at my alma mater East Carolina University. I owe a big debt of gratitude to ECU Head Coach Dave Patton (1974-1977) who believed in a “green behind the ears” recent graduate of East Carolina to offer me the opportunity to become a college basketball coach. I worked at ECU in that capacity from 1975-1977.

Prior to me becoming appointed an assistant coach I worked closely as a student assistant with Butch Estes who was serving as Assistant Coach at ECU since 1973. Butch was just four years older than me and he came to Greenville from the Citadel where he worked there as assistant coach from 1971-1973.

Butch grew up in High Point, NC and attended UNC Chapel Hill. He and I had similar experiences as undergraduates getting the opportunity to serve as a student assistant coaches. He did that at UNC and learned so much about basketball from Hall of Fame Coach Dean E. Smith. Butch shared a lot of those UNC coaching philosophies with me especially practice organization.

After leaving ECU Butch went on to Rice University. In 1980 he became the Head Coach at Presbyterian College in SC. He left PC in 1985 and had a great 9 year career at Furman University from 1985 thru 1994.

At Presbyterian, Estes’ teams were 92-63 in five seasons. He coached three teams to 20-plus wins seasons. In 1983-84, Presbyterian went 25-6. The following year the Blue Hose went 24-8. In 1982-83, Presbyterian put together a 21-12 record.

In nine seasons at Furman from 1985-94, his teams went 135-122. In 1990-91, the Paladins went 20-9 overall, 11-3 in the Southern Conference to win the regular season league title.

Butch Estes was named head coach of Barry University men’s basketball team in April 2013.

In his first season with the Buccaneers, Estes guided Barry to a 19-9 record and trip to the NCAA Tournament. Currently the Barry team sports a 12-1 record.

Prior to Barry, Estes coached for 30 years, most recently at Palm Beach State College. He led the Panthers to an 80-14 mark in three seasons, all of which were punctuated by conference championships. In 2012-13, Palm Beach State went 29-3 to set a school record for wins. His first Panther team went 25-6, while the 2011-12 squad was 26-5. Palm Beach State went from worst to first in Estes’ first season after he inherited a team that finished in last place in the Southern Conference the year before he took over. That was the second time Estes accomplished that feat, having taken a Shoreline College team from 6-20 to 19-6 in one year’s turnaround from 2008-09 to 2009-10.

Butch is a dynamic person and he is married to Tonya Estes, who is the Executive Producer of WFOR CBS-4 in Miami, and has two sons, Brad and Drew. He is person who has developed friendships at every stop of his coaching career.

While at East Carolina University Butch knew every head coach including ECU Swim Coach Ray Scharf.

Ray Scharf was from Newark, NJ and came to East Carolina as the head swim coach in 1967, and retired from coaching in 1982 after 15 years with the Pirates. Ray was inducted into the ECU Hall of Fame. Ray replaced Dr. Ray Martinez who was the ECU swim coach from 1954 to 1967.

While at ECU, Scharf compiled a men’s dual meet record of 93-55, and won 11 consecutive Southern Conference titles (1967-1977). He coached 127 individual conference champions and 24 women’s All-America swimmers (eight in 1982).

Butch and my story below involved Ray Scharf and is probable why Ray and I never became friends.


Butch Estesimage

The Friend of the Friend-RAY SCHARF


Butch Estes and Ray Scharf giving Dan Kenney a bad reputation

In 1976 I and a couple other graduate students at ECU lived in a house that was owned by Dr. Ray Martinez. This house served as Dr. Martinez summer swim camp he owned. Dr. Martinez after he retired as ECU swim coach still taught graduate level courses at ECU with his area of expertise being kinesiology. He always looked for Grad Students to rent his house after the summer swim camp concluded. That is how me a band of brothers became his tenants.

His swim camp had a gigantic first floor that was a combination kitchen and dining hall. The upstairs was an open bunk house that had 20 plus beds all in one open area. Each of us had an area that included multiple beds. My roommates included Tim Epley and Wayne Newman.

This house also came with a gigantic pool and pool house and was located way out in the country 5 or 6 miles from campus.

One Thursday afternoon Butch Estes gave me a recruiting assignment I was to drive from Greenville to Murfreesboro, NC to watch a four team tournament at Chowan College including Louisburg College. He told me he had everything worked out with Earline Leggett the ECU business manager on my motor pool car.

I went to the games got home around 2AM and instead of taking the car back to campus I took it straight home. I had an 8AM class on Friday’s and would take it back to campus before the motor pool opened. I left the keys on the floorboard and didn’t lock the car. We lived in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors within a mile of the swim camp. I went to bed but at 6 AM my roommate Wayne Newman screams at me “Dan someone is stealing the motor pool car.”

I ran downstairs and I see two cars pulling out of our dirt driveway. I immediately go to the kitchen and call the NC State Highway Patrol. I report the theft of a green Chevrolet impala with State Owned NC Tags. The dispatcher tells me that they will issue an APB on the stolen car. I gave them my home and work numbers and asked Wayne Newman if he can give me a ride to campus so I can tell ECU Athletic Business Manager Earline Leggett the car was stolen.

We are getting ready to go to campus and the phone rings about 45 minutes after the motor pool car was stolen. On the other end is the dispatcher for the NC State Highway Patrol asking me if I can verify if a Ray Scharf works at East Carolina. He has been pulled over on NC 11 heading to Ahoskie, NC. He is claiming to the NC Trooper on the scene that he is the swim coach at ECU. He told the trooper he was on a recruiting trip to Maryland. The suspect Ray Scharf is also stating that a Butch Estes told him that the car would be at the ECU motor pool at 5:30AM this morning and it was not. He claims he went to the swim camp on the hunch the car was there. He stated he had the car reserved with Earline Leggett. The dispatcher asked if that story was plausible.

I told the dispatcher yes. The dispatcher tells the NC State Trooper he can remove the handcuffs from Mr. Scharf and let him proceed.

Ray Scharf was not too pleased. Earline Leggett was too pleased. Butch and I had a story for a lifetime.


One comment

  1. Jeff Neelon · · Reply

    Getting better Josh’s Ahoskie inlaws will I joy this

    Sent from my iPhone


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