COACHING TREE

The legacy of hall of fame basketball coach Irv Dieterle

Retired Coach Irv Dieterle, a member of the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Michigan High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, stays involved in the game. Here he is shown (standing) in the huddle with Head Coach Kurt Corcoran and the Westwood High School girls basketball team during a timeout at a recent game. (Photo by Michael Murray)

 

By Michael Murray
The Westwood High School girls basketball team leads Marquette in the fourth quarter of a game in mid-February, but its advantage is shrinking. Marquette’s half-court trap is causing problems for the Patriots, and Westwood coach Kurt Corcoran, pacing in front of his team’s bench, yells instructions to his players on the court and then turns to consult the most overqualified assistant coach in the state.
Irv Dieterle has seen it all. The 70-something Virginia native spent 28 years as the boys varsity head coach at Westwood, winning 10 district, nine conference and four regional titles. Two of his teams advanced to the state semifinals, and he is a member of two halls of fame. In a varsity coaching career that included six schools, he posted a 555-260 record.
But those numbers reveal only a part of Dieterle’s legacy. Behind the statistics and championships are the dozens of players whose lives he influenced both on and off the court, including at least 25 who followed him into coaching at the collegiate or high-school varsity levels.
When asked his thoughts on why so many of his former players became coaches, Dieterle emphasized the culture he created. “I was here for a long time,” he said, “and we were able to build a good program by doing things the right way. These guys got to experience a winning program, and when they left they had the same principles…

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