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 for October 12, 2015.
My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.
This week begins the start of college basketball season and I don’t think I will every not remember October 15th as a special day. My entire 23 year career as a college basketball coach that was the official start date for NCAA teams to begin practice. When October 15, 2015 rolls around I am going to flashback thirty years to my first year as Head Basketball Coach in 1985. My team was UNC Pembroke (called Pembroke State at the time) Men’s Basketball Team. I had a lot of special young men on that team but today’s post is about two of them.
The first is Rodney Cannon a long thin forward who could score from Shelby, NC. The second is a good friend of Rodney’s Leon Crudup. These two not only helped me become a good coach but have gone and distinguished themselves as professional leaders. I inherited both of them as new freshmen. I got to coach them for 4 seasons.
(l-r) Rodney Cannon-Dan Kenney-Leon Crudup
(l-r) Rodney Cannon-Dan Kenney
After college Rodney found his way to serving our country in the US Navy. When the military experience came to a end Rodney found his way to Washington DC. Today he is married to a beautiful woman and has a great daughter.
Professionally he serves as Associate Director for Administrative Services for the American Diabetes Association.
Rodney Cannon the sailor.
Rodney the Kappa
Rodney had a great career at UNC Pembroke. He wound up being very involved with his fraternity in college and remains visible with Kappa Alpha Psi today. When he left UNC Pembroke he was a 1000 point career scorer.
Over the past thirty years he has remained friends with many of his former teammates including Leon Crudup.
The Friend-RODNEY CANNON
The Friend of the Friend-LEON CRUDUP
The Leader who played point guard
Leon Crudup played high school basketball for UNC Pembroke and NCHSAA Hall of Fame Coach Larry Lindsey. Larry played basketball at Pembroke and went on to win 8 North Carolina State Championships in Boy’s Basketball. He was always loyal to his alma mater and that was a reason why Leon wound up as a UNCP Brave.
During college Leon balanced studies, basketball, and was participating in Air Force ROTC during his college career. After college he became an officer and served in the Air Force for 20 plus years before retiring and moving back to North Carolina. His military career focused on missle silos and he spent time embedded in a silo as he advanced his career. When he retired he had obtained the rank of Lt. Colonel.
One of my special memories of Leon was during his freshman year at a game at Elon. We crawled our way back from a deficit to get back within 1 point. With one second to play Leon got fouled and made both free throws for us to win on the road.
He was cool under pressure and he and his friend Rodney Cannon made me a good coach.