From the Sports Editor: Afro Hall inducts legendary CR hoop coach Emery

On the court, Marshall Emery’s biggest accomplishment was coaching Caesar Rodney High to the boys’ basketball state title in 1984.

But, off the court, the late coach’s impact is still being felt.

Emery’s friend and assistant coach, Mike King, said many of the players from that CR squad still keep in touch.

“To have them get together and talk about the value that they saw in Marshall Emery and the benefits that they got as a result of receiving his coaching and listening to his philosophies. …,” said King. “They said a lot of times they didn’t process too much (when they were young) but later on in life they recognized their value.”

On Saturday night, a decade after he passed away on his way home from a basketball camp, Emery’s memory was celebrated when he was inducted into the Delaware Afro-American Hall of Fame.

Emery was one of 12 Hall inductees who were honored at the group’s 18th annual banquet at Dover’s Modern Maturity Center.

Other inductees from Kent County included Dusty Blakey, a former state champion wrestler at Dover High who is now the superintendent of the Colonial School District, and Bob Neylan, the former Dover High track standout who coached the Senators to three state championships.

Inductees from Sussex County included Carlene Radhovani, a 1,000-point basketball scorer at Seaford High who was fifth on the all-time scoring list at Delaware State; Nina Savage, a state champion long jumper and basketball player at Indian River High, who earned a track scholarship to Long Island University; former Seaford High athlete Jeff Johnson, who went on to become a youth coach in the area; and Seaford teacher Norman Poole, a basketball and football timer for 41 years.

The inductees from New Castle County included former Howard High track standout La Trica Dendy, a state champion runner who was an All-American at UNLV and who still competes on the USA Masters World team; Jamie Duncan, the Christiana High football standout who played at Vanderbilt and then in the NFL; former William Penn High state champion runner Connie Ellerbe-Washington, who was a four-time All-American at West Virginia; Glasgow High grad Duffy Samuels, an All-State basketball player who later played for Old Dominion and then the Harlem Globetrotters; and William Penn High grad Wesley Ridgeway, a track standout who was an all-conference runner at Delaware State.

After coaching CR to its state crown, Emery returned to Delaware State as the Hornets’ head men’s basketball coach. He and his staff recruited Tom Davis, DSU’s all-time leading scorer, along with Emanuel Davis, who played in the NBA.

An award-winning coach at several levels, Emery was also involved in international basketball and worked at tryout camps for the U.S. Olympic team.

“He was organized,” said King. “He understood the game. And he was a great game coach. He could make game adjustments.”

Dover’s Neylan isn’t the first non-African American inducted into the Hall of Fame. As a hurdler at Alabama in the 1960s, he also witnessed some of the racial tensions of the decade firsthand.

Neylan can remember driving back from a college meet in Memphis and seeing a KKK rally taking place.

“It scared me to death,” he recalled. “It made me appreciate what I had up here.”

Before that, as a state-champion hurdler at Dover High, Neylan also saw the positive side of race relations. He often worked out with the Delaware State College track team inside during the winter.

“I got to know all those guys,” said Neylan. “I used to watch the DelState basketball team play. I was just accepted. There was no hesitation — ‘Come on out.’ It helped me get into college because now I’m running on a college level.

“DelState College holds a very place for me as far as preparing me to go on to the next level.”

NASCAR softball set for Wilm.

As part of their annual Team Dover vs. Team Pocono Celebrity Softball Game, Dover International Speedway and Pocono Raceway will go head-to-head for the fourth time on May 3 at Frawley Stadium.

The event includes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Austin Dillon and Kasey Kahne, along with Todd Bodine, two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and current Fox Sports 1 analyst. The rosters from each team will be rounded out with members of national and local motorsports media, as well as other local media personalities.

The Monster Mile squad has won two of the three games against the “The Tricky Triangle.”

Access to the celebrity softball game is free with a ticket to the May 3 matchup between the Blue Rocks and the Frederick Keys.

Gates for the softball game will open at 3:30 p.m. with the event beginning at 4 p.m. Following the softball game, time permitting, Dillon and Kahne will throw out the first pitch for that evening’s 6:35 p.m. baseball game.

Odds & ends

• Dover High is going to have four football players sign with colleges on Monday afternoon. That group includes: Tuscan Wright (Albright), Triston Harris (Towson), Tyler Rosello (Salisbury) and Karim Beatty (Delaware State).

• As part of D3 Week recently, Wesley College athletes collected canned food to support the food Bank of Delaware. The Wolverines also honored over 120 athletes who earned at least a 3.0 grade point average in the fall.

In addition, Wesley’s men’s and women’s soccer teams held a young soccer clinic at the Delaware Union field in Dover.

“It is wonderful to see the lads give back to the community,“ Wolverine men’s coach Steve Clark, “I love to see the smiles on the young player’s faces. Hopefully we can inspire them to both enjoy the sport as well as improve their technique.”

• Caesar Rodney High hosts rival Dover in baseball on Thursday at 4:15 p.m. The Senators won last year’s meeting, 6-0.

• For what it’s worth, the girls’ lacrosse computer rankings on the website Lax Power, have Polytech High ranked No. 1 in the state and seven-time defending state Cape Henlopen at No. 2.

• Former Caesar Rodney and Dover boys’ lacrosse head coach John Coveleski is a volunteer assistant at Appoquinimink High this spring.

• CR’s golf team has carded scores of 155 and 157 in two of its last four matches. A year ago, the Riders scored in the 150’s only three times all season.

Overall, CR is averaging 164.7 per match.

• Kory Holden, the one-time Delaware basketball standout who’s looking for his next school, reportedly has official visits planned for South Carolina, Seton Hall and Baylor. Holden, apparently, is looking for a program that can help him get to the pros.

“I’m looking for the best situation to get me to where I need to be and whoever can help me prepare to take care of my family,” he was quoted in The State in South Carolina.

• Perennial state power Salesianum is scheduled to play only three Delaware schools during the regular season: Cape Henlopen, CR and St. Mark’s. The Sals, coached by Dover teachers Bob Healy and Shawn Plews, have teams from eight states plus Canada on their 14-game slate.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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