Victory gets chance to be head coach

CAMDEN — It’s only a few inches from the first spot on a basketball team’s bench to the second seat.

But Frank Victory knows as well as anyone that there’s a world of difference between the two spots.

And after 23 seasons as an assistant basketball coach, Victory is ready to slide over and be a head coach.

Frank Victory

The 44-year-old Caesar Rodney High grad will get that chance after recently being hired as the Riders’ boys’ basketball head coach.

“It’s been a lot of seasons that I’ve been sitting in that second seat,” said Victory. “It’s going to be a little different. I’m assembling a great staff. … but, at the end of the day, it (the decision) is going to be mine. I look forward to that challenge.

“I look forward to the opportunity to kind of make that final call. Some days it’s going to go well for me and some days it’s not doing to go well. And I’m OK with that. You’ve got to have big shoulders if you’re going to take a position like that and have confidence in your abilities.”

Victory succeeds Freeman Williams, who stepped down last month after being hired as an assistant principal at CR’s Postlethwaite Middle School. Williams had been the Riders’ head boys’ coach for all but three seasons since 2006.

The boys’ and girls’ programs at CR have long had close ties. Victory has been a girls’ assistant coach with Williams’ wife, Tameka, for several years.

Of course, Victory was also an assistant to his dad, Bill, who retired as the Riders’ head girls’ coach last year after 26 seasons.

“Being a coach in our district for 20-plus years, he definitely knows the ins and outs of how a program’s supposed to run,” said CR athletic director Bob Beron. “It’s well deserved and we definitely look forward to have him take on the responsibility of head boys’ varsity coach.”

“I will definitely be a familiar face to them,” Victory said about the boys’ players.

Victory has also coached both boys’ and girls’ soccer at CR’s Dover Air Force Base Middle School while assisting the Riders’ boys’ varsity soccer program for the past three seasons.

While Victory knows he’ll have some things to learn, he doesn’t think it will be a huge transition going from coaching the girls’ game to the boys’ game. After finishing his playing career at CR in 1993, he was an assistant coach to Jeff Savage on the Riders’ boys’ squad that reached the DIAA state finals in 1994.

“I think at the end of the day you’re coaching kids, you’re shaping kids, you’re helping kids to take the next step,” said Victory. “Coaching girls or boys, that part is relative to me.”

CR’s boys’ program usually has some high expectations. The Riders have been to the DIAA state tournament in five of the last six seasons, including posting a 16-6 record last winter.

Victory said he would have been OK if he never got the chance to be a head coach. At the same time, it’s an opportunity he’s been interested in for a while.

“Anybody that’s in coaching wants that opportunity,” said Victory. “At the end of the day, it’s about me helping kids become better. I just feel like I can influence more in this role as a head coach than I could have as an assistant coach.

“Freeman has done an amazing job with this boys’ program over the last several years,” he added. “It’s going to be different not seeing him on the sidelines coaching any more. … But we want to continue to be successful.

“For me, it’s about the boys learning more about the game of basketball, developing who they are as a person and being high-character people. Obviously we have a desire to want to win and compete for championships every year. But, if we’re turning out kids that are high-character kids and they’re able to go out and really make an impact on our community, then we have succeeded.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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