Impressive is the word to describe Thursday’s 500th career victory for Russ Damhoff, men’s basketball coach at Sauk Valley Community College.
The Skyhawks roared past Black Hawk East, 91-60, as Damhoff marked the coaching milestone in his 27th year on the job.
That accomplishment is even more impressive because Damhoff’s first season gave little indication of future success.
The 1986-87 Sauk men’s team endured an 18-game losing streak en route to a 3-27 season record.
As Damhoff observed, “If we would have kept going at that pace, it would have taken over 160 years to get 500 wins.”
But Damhoff righted the ship, and impressively so.
During the next 25 seasons, Damhoff’s teams averaged 19 wins a year.
After posting another victory Saturday, this year’s team is 11-5. That’s impressive, given that none of the starters from last year’s 23-9 squad are still around.
Damhoff obviously has learned how to win: Recruit players with talent, skills, athleticism and ability. Familiarize players with his winning system. Focus on timing, execution and teamwork. Set goals and work to achieve them. Provide the right leadership to help those athletes reach their potential and dreams.
The lessons from his first season served as a foundation and motivation for better times ahead: Learn from your mistakes. Work through adversity. Believe in yourself. Don’t give up.
Basketball fans can catch the Skyhawks’ next home game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, when they host IVCC. After that, remaining home games will be Jan. 29 and Feb. 5, 12, 14, 16 and 23.
We congratulate Coach Damhoff for persevering through a tough first year, making the next 26 seasons pretty darn exciting, and notching his 500th career win.
The Damhoff-O-Meter now stands at 501. Good luck, Coach. Keep winning, and keep it spinning.