Two coaches, one cause — a ‘no-brainer’

Aug. 12, 2014 @ 07:31 AM

This may have been the most brilliant play ever drawn up by Cardinal Gibbons High School basketball coach Marque Carrington.

He's been doing clinics for basketball coaches over the past several years. The next one is Sept. 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cardinal Gibbons in Raleigh. There will be opportunities for coaches to interact with other coaches, including N.C. Central's LeVelle Moton, South Carolina's Frank Martin and Bob Hurley of Saint Anthony High School in New Jersey. 

Carrington was a guard at N.C. A&T State University in the late 1990s after helping Cary High School win the state championship in 1995.  A man named Lason Perkins was an assistant coach for that Cary squad. Perkins had a lot to do with Cary's success, Carrington said.

Perkins last season was the interim basketball coach at Chapel Hill High School after spending several years there as an assistant coach for Tod Morgan.

For now, Perkins is not coaching, so his prime platform from which to impact young people isn't what it was.

Which is where Carrngton’s Xs and Os come in.

Last spring, Carrington said he and Perkins were talking about potential charities that could benefit from proceeds generated by the upcoming Key To Success Coaches Clinic. Perkins suggested the Ronald McDonald House of Durham.

“That was a no-brainer,” Carrington said.

About a decade ago, Perkins' just-born daughter, Gayle, was taken to North Carolina Children's Hospital, where her condition worsened and required a transfer to Brenner Children's Hospital in Winston-Salem, where there was special equipment for the little girl.  

After 10 days on this earth, Baby Gayle died.

During the time Perkins and his wife were holding out hope for Gayle's recovery, they were staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem.

“It's one of those organizations that you never really think about until you need them,” Perkins said.

The first Ronald McDonald House opened in 1974 after Philadelphia Eagles football player Fred Hill noticed families sleeping in their cars near the hospital where his child was receiving care. Hill and a buddy of his who worked for McDonald’s would become the driving forces behind refurbishing a house next to the hospital that families could use while their children were receiving care. The Eagles franchise donated money for the project, and McDonald’s lent the name, because Hill's buddy figured kids loved Ronald McDonald as much as the famous clown's burgers and fries.

Perkins said his stay at the Ronald McDonald house was a wonderful change of pace from hospital rooms and hospital food. There were home-cooked meals. Folks from the community just would show up with great stuff to eat.

“Even though you were out of your routine, it gave you some normalcy,” Perkins said.

Perkins has since donated money toward that end and has gotten others to do the same, and he and his wife, Susan, have prepared some of that home cooking.

By the way, Lason and Susan Perkins have a son. His name is Jack. He's 5.

Carrington and Cardinal Gibbons assistant basketball coach Dave Ebert toured Durham's Ronald McDonald House last week. Ebert handed a monetary donation to Oie Osterkamp, the organization's executive director, in advance of the coaches’ clinic, getting the ball rolling.

Osterkamp recalled his first meeting with Duke football coach David Cutcliffe. During the first 15 minutes, Cutcliffe talked about football — the rest of the session was about how to build up young men for society's sake, Osterkamp said.

“That's what you guys (as coaches) do,” Osterkamp told Carrington. “It's not just about four downs and scoring touchdowns.”

During the tour, Carrington had this demeanor about him that resembled a coach in deep concentration when he's breaking down game film, searching for angles and edges.

Young people —like the Cardinal Gibbons boys' basketball team  — need to be thrust into environments like the Ronald McDonald House of Durham in order to witness what they otherwise might never see with respect to the toughness and the fight of some special kids, and how they're loved on and cared for by special people, Carrington said.

“It would be great for them to actually see another part of life,” Carrington said. “They need to see kids struggling but keeping a good face, smiling.”

More details and registration information for the Key To Success Coaches Clinic are at keybasketball.com.