Tommy McKinney's running jumper over seven-foot Westside center, James Beasley, was more than just a buzzer-beating game-winner for the Greenbrier Wolfpack: It gave one of the CSRA's best basketball coaches his 300th win.
Greenbrier coach Danny Black can't seem to get away from the game he loves. He is back coaching after his second brief time away and not a lot has changed. His teams still play tough man-to-man defense and are taught the fundamentals of the game.
Saturday night's victory over Westside gave a special milestone to a coach that cares little about individual honors. To him, Greenbrier's come from behind victory was just that: a victory.
But to so many others it meant more. His family, his peers, his former players (including this writer) were thrilled for the coach who had given so much to our county and it's young people.
I had the good fortune of learning most of what I know about the fundamentals of the game from Black during my time at Evans. To this day, one of my biggest regrets was not playing for him as a senior. I transferred to Lakeside. And while I enjoyed everything about my Lakeside experience, not playing for coach Black as a senior set me back as a player.
I'm certainly not the only one Danny Black had a profound affect on.
Evans head coach Kevin Kenny (played for Black at Hephzibah from 77-79): "I learned a lot from Danny. He is the reason I went to Brewton-Parker. He knew their coach (Gary Sharpe) and he helped me go play for Coach Sharpe. And when I got their I was prepared because of Danny. He taught me a lot about defense and fundamentals. When we play against his teams we both want to win, but I sure he is happy for us when we do well."
Garrett Black (Greenbrier girl's coach): "I've learned a lot from my dad. The past six years being with him at Greenbrier have been great. He has an old school approach and I think his philosophy still works today."
Ford Davis (played three seasons for Black at Evans): "He worked us hard and prepared us for every game. He taught me so much about defense and playing smart."
Black played basketball and baseball collegiately at Brewton Parker College in Mount Vernon, Ga., for two seasons. Then, he transferred to Austin-Peay in Clarksville, Tenn., Where he played just baseball. At one point during the summer of his junior season while playing semi-pro ball in Savannah he was approached by scouts from the Cleveland Indians. With one more year to go in school, he elected to return to Austin-Peay.
After graduating he went back to basketball taking a job near Brewton parker coaching at Montgomery, Col., as a junior varsity coach his team went 13-1 in 1970. The following season, Black was given the reins to the varsity team and he led them to the state tournament.
Now - 300 wins later after additional stints at Aquinas, Evans, Hephzibah, back to Evans, and finally Greenbrier - Black has seen plenty of great moments and changes.
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