By Zack Steele
I thought I would take a break this week from the usual eye and heath care column to talk about something else I really enjoy.
You may not know this, but I’m a basketball junkie. My father and grandfather were high school and college basketball coaches, so it’s in my blood. And as you could probably imagine, it’s my time of year. March Madness is like Christmas to me. There are so many exciting games in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. We all got to see the UAB Blazers upset a very good Iowa State team last Thursday as just one of the upsets of the crazy weekend.
The success of UAB (and former Hewitt-Trussville great Jarvis Calhoun) this season makes me yearn for all our major college programs in the state to return to the days when you could count on Alabama, Auburn and UAB making it to the Big Dance. Auburn took a step in the right direction after last season by hiring the charismatic Bruce Pearl as coach. In my opinion, Alabama did the right thing by parting ways with Anthony Grant as well. The Tide and Tigers have had stagnant basketball programs for quite a while, and it’s high time we saw these two teams get back to winning consistently.
Speaking of coaching changes, one of the all-around good guys decided to hang up his clipboard last week. I got to know coach Mike Dutton while doing the public address for Hewitt-Trussville basketball this past season. If you weren’t aware, Dutton has been a standout coach for nearly 30 years, with most of his tenure at Pinson Valley, and the last couple years at Hewitt. The day after Dutton resigned from coaching to spend more time with his grandchildren, he stopped by the office to personally thank me for helping out. I was thoroughly amazed that he would take the time to come by and thank me. Not only that, we spent about 20 minutes talking basketball, which is one of my favorite things to sit around and chat about.
Coach Dutton is a class act, and if you see him around, you should thank him for what he’s done in shaping the lives of young men in our area for more than a quarter century.
Hewitt now begins the search for a new coach. And in my humble opinion, they should do nothing more than look right down the bench to coach Jeremiah Millington.
Millington was the starting point guard during some of the best seasons in the history of Hewitt basketball under former head coach Bo Coln. It should be mentioned that he was a heck of a quarterback, too. Since his college basketball career ended, he has dedicated his time to Hewitt athletics as a basketball and football coach. Talking basketball with him is one of my favorite things to do because he’s a prodigy as far as knowledge of the game.
I believe he’s the right person to make the basketball program at Hewitt-Trussville a winner again, much like Bucky McMillan has done at Mountain Brook, where the powers that be decided to take a chance on a young, unproven coach who played there. All McMillan has done with Mountain Brook is lead his team to two state championships and three straight appearances in the state title game. I sincerely believe that Hewitt could do the same thing with Millington at the helm.
I promise next time to regale you with stories about eye care. Until then, enjoy March Madness and your busted bracket.
Dr. Zack Steele is a 2003 graduate of the UAB School of Optometry. His practice, Trussville Vision Care, is located on Chalkville Mountain Road in downtown Trussville.