Written by Student Assistant Dylan Foreman
TACOMA, Wash. - On Saturday, many friends, family, colleagues, and players gathered at the Washington State History Museum to honor retiring Pacific Lutheran University head men's basketball coach Steve Dickerson. Dickerson served on the men's basketball staff for 14 years at PLU, including 11 as head coach, and has been involved in coaching since 1970.
The athletic department helped retire Dickerson in style at the State History Museum, packing the facility with the people whose lives have been touched by Dickerson in some way over his coaching career as the charismatic, friendly man that he is.
"Off the court, he cares about everybody. He wants you to do your best and he wants you to be a great person," 2015 graduate and four-year player Terrell Williams said. "That's one of the biggest things I learned from him, that there is more to life than basketball."
At the event, people took the time to express their deep gratitude to Dickerson as well as poking fun at some of the funnier moments they've had with him over the years. Athletic Director Laurie Turner was the master of ceremonies who ushered others to the stage such as women's basketball coach Jen Childress and senior Brandon Lester.
"My time with Dickerson has been amazing, he's helped me with everything from becoming a better basketball player to becoming a man," Lester remarked. "It's been an awesome experience with him."
For me, having had the honor of playing for him the last three years, I can confirm that probably the most important thing he offered, from a player's perspective, was the fact that he cared more about how good of a person you were off the court rather than what kind of player you were on the court which spoke volumes to the leadership ability of Dickerson.
Although there were ups and downs in the game of basketball, his level of commitment to his wife Christy and to the relationships with the people he worked with, coached, and saw on a daily basis, is the true nature of who he is as a person.
Turner put it best at the event by saying that Dickerson was a "grinder" by the incredible amount of effort he put into his job. That can be shown by the countless hand-written letters that have reached the homes of various people within the PLU community.
"I've been very blessed to have a job that has actually been my hobby and that I actually enjoy," Dickerson said.
He concluded the night with an old African proverb that he has used in the ideology of his teams over the last few years and that is "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."