@wpbf_tonya @butchestes1 January 31

I started the Coach4aday blog in 2014 and have done daily posts on one topic for each year. In 2014 my daily posts were on the “Beer of the Day”, 2015 it was “A Friend of a Friend”, 2016 I wrote about “North Carolina”, and in 2017 it was “Colleges and Universities”.

The one consistent piece of feedback I have received with this blog is the 2015 series on “A Friend of a Friend”. Readers and blog followers said please bring it back. The stats also back that up with the number of views each of those posts received.

So in 2018 two things will happen with the Coach4aday blog; One I plan to collaborate with a friend named John Rancke and revisit some of those 2015 “A Friend of a Friend” posts and do some new ones with a slightly different twist.

In addition John and I will write about things we both are interested which will include basketball, food, people, music, our granddaughters, and great stories.

If you want to follow the blog via email go to the bottom right of the post and click the follow button.

My twitter handle is @coach4aday2 if you want to follow the blog that way.

John’s twitter handle is @JohnRancke if you want to reach out to him.

Butch Estes and Ray Scharf at ECU

Post was originally published on January 17, 2015 but has been updated.

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 Basketball 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.

(l-r) ECU Head Coach Dave Patton and Assistant Coach Billy Lee (who is currently the Special Assistant to Sylvia Hatchell at UNC Chapel Hill). Note the use of chalk on the floor to diagram the timeout play.

Dave Patton and Billy Lee

Prior to me becoming appointed an assistant coach at ECU I got to work closely as a student assistant with Butch Estes who was serving as Assistant Basketball Coach at ECU beginning in 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. I owe much to Butch for being a great mentor to me early in my career.

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. If you are a basketball coach I recommend the book below authored by Dean Smith.

Dean Smith Book

After leaving ECU in 1977 Butch went on to Rice University in Houston TX to serve as an assistant coach. 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.

Butch Estes

In his first season with the Buccaneers, Estes guided Barry to a 19-9 record and trip to the NCAA Tournament. in 2016-17 Barry advanced to the Elite 8 in 2015-16. Since arriving at Barry he has amazed over 100 wins in less than 5 seasons. Currently the Barry team sports a 12-4 record (as of 1-22-18).

Butch is a dynamic person and he is married to Tonya Estes, who is the Assistant News Director at WPBF-25 in South Florida, and he 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

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. Dr. Martinez is also a member of the ECU Hall of Fame. He passed away at the age of 89 in 2015.


ray martinez

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 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 the 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 and 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.

Earline Leggett also a member of ECU Hall of Fame



I went to the junior college games and got home around 2AM. Instead of taking the car back to campus I took it straight home. I had an 8 a.m. PE 12 class to teach on Friday’s at Minges Coliseum and my plan was to  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 Mr. Ray Scharf works at East Carolina. He has been pulled over on NC 11 heading to Ahoskie, NC. He is claiming to the NC StateTrooper on the scene that he is the swim coach at ECU.

state trooper

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 tells me the arresting trooper on the scene wants to know if that story is plausible.

I told the dispatcher sheepishly 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.

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