MAC ON SPORTS: COACH TOM DOOLEY WALKS AWAY FROM BASKETBALL

J. Thomas McNamara

    Team success comes in many forms.
    Some measure it in terms of state championships, conference titles, memorable wins, but, according to Tom Dooley, the most rewarding measure is when your “former players come back and tell you the impact you had on their lives.  That’s the icing on the cake,” said Dooley in a recent conversation with the Decatur Tribune following his announcement that he had resigned as the Central A&M lady Raiders basketball coach.
    After 11 years courtside with the Raiders, Dooley decided it was time to walk away from the fun and success he had coaching his lady Raiders.
    With his insurance business and the brewery bar, he was finding it increasingly difficult to give his insurance business the attention it needs.  That point was driven home to him during the recently concluded abbreviated season brought about by COVID.
    Looking ahead to a longer season this coming summer and season, Dooley said he knew it was time to walk away and continue training the new employees he has entering the insurance business.
    If didn’t pay more attention on his insurance business, he knew it would start losing what he had built through the 17 years of owning it.
    These are among the reflections Dooley cited in his chat with the Decatur Tribune, including what he’ll take with him from the more than a decade of coaching lady Raiders basketball that his wife, Jackie, did before turning over the reins to Dave Fitzgerald.
    “I can’t put a value on what their comments means to me,” said Dooley.
    The lady Raiders success actually began with his wife Jackie and when she decided it was time to stat at a home and be a Mom she recommended Fitzgerald to succeed her which he did and continued the success there she built and then Fitzgerald turned over the reins to Brianna Morrow, who then passed on the program to Tom.  Someone else will come in and continue the lady Raiders program with the same successes the others before him or her made.
    He also quipped about when he and Jackie were remodeling their garage into an area they could use for entertaining.  His wife had primed all the walls and “I come home and started putting the color on.” drawing the raves for how well it looks.
    Jackie recommended Fitzgerald as was already cited above, but she also talked her husband into applying for the position when Morrow left.
    With the Dooleys lady Raider basketball is an all in the family sport.

I will have on this and my personal reflections on his contributions to the game of basketball in Irish Stew in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

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