What does a number mean in the context of any given sport?
Sportswriters have debated that question in one way or another, seemingly since the beginning of time.
And the debate is sure to continue. One thing that should not be debated is the significance of Catholic High football coach Dale Weiner winning his 300th game.
Weiner is in his 41st year of coaching, including 34 as a head coach. He got the milestone victory when the Bears defeated Teurlings Catholic on Friday night, becoming the eighth Louisiana high school football coach to reach 300 wins.
Weiner tries to shun the spotlight, instead pointing toward his team and desire to take it game-by-game. He’ll tell you that the number of wins is a byproduct of coaching for a long period of time.
“You’re talking about a lot of people through the years,” Weiner said. “There have been players, coaches and administrators who are all part of it. Some of the players are now parents or grandparents. I’ve been fortunate to be at Catholic for the majority of my career. I’m blessed.”
Of course, the number of wins based on longevity is the argument critics use against Weiner. They point to the fact Weiner has not won a state title and has only taken Catholic to the title game once, in 1990.
They’ll say that lessens the value of those 300 wins.
I don’t think it does. State titles are nice, but they should not be the only measuring stick in high school sports.
High school coaching is about more than game plans. Life lessons about discipline and perseverance and the building of a teenager’s self-esteem and confidence are ultimately worth more than wins.
St. Thomas More’s Jim Hightower, who has 380 wins, says Weiner is “the kind of person and coach you want your son to play for.”
But if you’re still hung up on numbers consider this fact. Weiner is the first East Baton Rouge Parish coach to win 300 games.
Longtime Capitol High coach Roman Bates (225) is the next closest among coaches who spent their entire careers in the Baton Rouge area.
Madison Prep coach Michael Roach sees the longevity of Weiner’s career as a plus, not a minus.
“Coach Weiner was starting out when I was in high school,” Roach said. “Look at how the game has changed and how kids and our society have changed. To be able to relate to kids going back to the 1970s up until 2015 is incredible. There aren’t many people who can do that.”
Three numbers stood out for me when I was growing up in the 1960s. One was Babe Ruth’s career total of 714 home runs. Then there was the 100 points Wilt Chamberlain scored in one NBA game. Jim Brown retired with a then-NFL record of 12,312 rushing yards.
I thought all of them were so large they’d never be surpassed, but obviously two of three have.
For me, 300 wins as a high school football coach is another big number. Given the attrition in the football coaching ranks, I suspect 300 wins will be tougher to reach in the years ahead.
Expect Weiner to do what he’s always done. He’ll look ahead to the next play and the next game.
Just this once, it’s important to look at Weiner’s full body of work. We may never see anything like it again.
Live Oak administrative assistant Robert Graves is compiling a history of the Livingston Parish Basketball tournament. Graves seeks scores and information from 1939 to 1985.
Graves’ goal is to have consistent year-by-year documentation along with information on milestones and key games for boys and girls teams. Contact Graves at email@example.com or call 225-271-3735
- St. James needs boys basketball opponents on Nov. 19, Dec. 8, Jan. 8 and Jan. 12.
Home or away games will be accepted. Call coach James Smith at (225) 772-8832.