Losing friend Dallas Green a tough day for former Blue Hen Clyde Louth

Dallas Green

Clyde Louth and Dallas Green didn’t actually know each other forever.

It just seemed that way.

The two men first met in 1953 when they were basketball teammates at Delaware.

Ever since then, their lives seemed to be intertwined.

“That’s a long time,” Louth said the other day. “I’ve shared a lot of things with him over the years. We’ve had a lot of good times together but then we’ve had a lot of tough times together.”

Wednesday was one of those tough days.

That’s when Green passed away at the age of 82 after being in declining health for some time. A Newport native and Conrad High grad, Green always gave the First State its own personal connection to Major League baseball.

The 6-foot-4 Green, with his deep, booming voice, will best be remembered for managing the Phillies to the 1980 World Series title.

He never forgot his alma mater, though, showing up at Blue Hen baseball or football games from time to time. Green also donated money for a scholarship in his name.

“He was personally supportive to me and was always available to talk baseball when I needed some advice,” said Delaware baseball coach Jim Sherman. “He will surely be missed by the entire Blue Hen Baseball family.”

Dallas Green was a star baseball pitcher and basketball player at Delaware in the 1950s. (UD sports information photo)

Louth, on the other hand, has plenty of fond memories of Green that have nothing to do with baseball.

There was the time they were playing basketball for the Hens and knocked off St. Joe’s on the Hawks’ home court. Green grabbed a big rebound late in the game and got the ball ahead to Louth, who sank two clinching foul shots with five seconds left.

“We always bragged about that because our record wasn’t the best in basketball,” said Louth.

Or how about a couple years ago when the two men were out in Florida during one of their many spring training trips?

Green saw a group of nuns sitting at a nearby table and dared Louth — a Salesianum grad — to ask one of them to dance,

“I said, ‘If I ask a nun to dance, I’d get excommunicated,’” Louth said with a laugh. “He was getting on me for that.”

But there were the rough times, too.

Maybe nothing was more difficult for Green than when his nine-year-old granddaughter, Christina-Taylor Green, was shot and killed in Arizona in 2011.

“Really, he never got over that,” said Louth.

For Louth, Green’s declining health was tough to watch. He needed a kidney transplant and was on dialysis before he died this week in a Philadelphia hospital.

It was the first time the two men didn’t go to spring training together in a long time.

“He’s had a lot of pain in the past year,” said Louth. “His future wasn’t going to be too good. It was tough for him.

“I’ve had a tough couple days here,” Louth added. “I just can’t believe the number of people. … the calls that I’ve gotten. It just is mind-boggling. … We had a great relationship over all the years.”

Change of scenery

Smyrna High’s Harvest Bowl football rivalry with Middletown is just starting to take off again.

After the Eagles topped the Cavaliers for the DIAA Division I state title in December, the two neighboring programs will renew their regular-season rivalry in September.

But the unexpected news that coach Mark DelPercio plans to leave Middletown to coach in Texas certainly puts a new wrinkle in things.

DelPercio’s son, Anthony, announced his father’s move in a Twitter post earlier this month. He called coaching in Texas a “life long dream” for his dad.

“That man has done so much for not only this town and this program, but for Delaware football as a whole,” Anthony wrote. “If only everyone got to see the behind the scenes work he puts in day after day. He has truly dedicated his life to family and football.”

DelPercio, who also was the head coach at Glasgow, leaves Delaware with a record of 151-62. He led the Cavaliers to six state titles — three each in Division II and I — and took Middletown to the Division I state finals in seven of last 10 seasons.

“I was shocked that Mark has resigned and has plans to move,” said Smyrna coach Mike Judy. “He is a great competitor and does a lot, not just for MOT football but as a active member of DIFCA and DFRC/Blue-Gold. He will be missed for sure.”

Coming ‘home’

Mike Brey has been the basketball coach at Notre Dame for far longer (17 seasons) than he was at Delaware (five seasons).

But he’s never lost touch with the state, still spending time every summer at Rehoboth Beach.

So it figures to be a pretty memorable moment sometime next winter when Brey brings his Fighting Irish to Newark to play the Blue Hens. (The date hasn’t been set yet).

The game is a gesture to first-year Delaware coach Martin Ingelsby, Brey’s former assistant at ND. With so many Brey — not to mention, Notre Dame — fans out there, it’s hard to imagine the Carpenter Center won’t be packed.

“Mike and I have always talked about this over the years,” said Ingelsby. “If I was fortunate to get a job, he’d want to be able to come.

“I’m not sure he would have done that for anyone else but Delaware. To have that (Notre Dame) name in our building, it’s going to be an unbelievable night for our university and our basketball program.

“There’s no doubt what game our guys will have circled on our schedule. I think it helps in recruiting, too, to be able to sell to high school prospects that you have an ACC-level team, that they’re coming to our building, … I’m extremely, extremely appreciative of him (Brey) for giving us the game and coming here.”

Odds & ends

• Cape Henlopen High’s 19-0 win over Dover on Wednesday gives the Vikings 100 consecutive victories over Delaware schools in girls’ lacrosse.

The Vikings, under first-year coach Lindsey Eichner, are going for their ninth straight state title this spring. Eichner was the Wesley College women’s head coach from 2007-09.

• The annual Keith Burgess Invitational track meet, scheduled for April 1, will be held at Polytech High this year because of work being done at Lake Forest’s Jim Blades Stadium.

• Dover International Speedway’s Monster Monument will be illuminated in blue light throughout April as part of the “Light It Up Blue Campaign” in support for increasing understanding and acceptance of autism.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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