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February 07, 1992 - Image 47

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-02-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

SPORTS

A Passion ForHoo ps

Basketball has been almost everything to Howard Golding,
Oak Park boys basketball coach.

Special to The Jewish News

IF

or most people,
basketball is a game.
Howard Golding
doesn't look at it that
way at all.
Ever since he was a
10-year-old star on a
league champion team at the
Jewish Community Center at
Dexter and Davison in
Detroit, basketball has been
a vital part of Golding's life.
It's his passion. He's
coached it for most of his
adult years. And it helped
him meet the woman he
would marry.
That's why Golding, a West
Bloomfield resident who is in
his second stint as the boys
basketball coach at Oak Park
High School, does much more
than conduct practices and
plot strategy during games.
He wants to see his players
use basketball to better their
lives, too.
"So many kids at Oak Park
need guidance and I try to use
basketball as a way of poin-
ting them in the right direc-
tion," said Golding, 47, who
will talk hoops for hours if
you let him.
"If a kid has talent, I'll try
to help him get into college.
Basketball can be a vehicle
for a scholarship," Golding
added.
"My kids know if they play
hard for me, if they do their
job on the basketball court
and in the classroom, I'll
work ten times as hard for
them. They know I'll come
through. I don't want to sound
cocky, but the kids are aware
I'm a proven commodity. The
record supports it."
One of the many players
who has benefited from Gold-
ing's work is Willie Wright.
After being academically
ineligible most of his high
school career, the 6-foot-6
Wright played just the final
eight games of the 1988-89
season, his senior year. But
there was enough raw basket-
ball and academic talent
there to convince Golding

that Wright could play college
ball and be a good student.
More importantly, Golding
was convinced that basketball
would be Wright's best escape
route from a life which pro-
mised nothing but trouble.
"I told Willie that I was the
difference between him and
the streets," Golding said. "I
advised him to drop out of
school after the season, get
his life together and go for his
GED in adult education.
Once he got the degree, I
wanted him to call me"
When Golding got the call
from Wright during the
following summer, he sprang
into action. Working with
local recruiting contact Larry
Fisher, Golding quickly

"So many kids
need guidance and
I try to use
basketball as a
way of pointing
them in the right
direction."

secured a scholarship for
Wright to Mid Plains Com-
munity College in North
Platte, Neb.
"Willie asked me, 'Where's
that?' I told him to get on the
plane and somewhere over
middle America, 'it will
land, " Golding recalled with
a laugh.
"Then he asked me if there
was anything to do there. I
told him there were two
things: studying and playing
basketball.
"A lot of people didn't think
Willie would get on the plane,
and if he did go, he wouldn't
last more than two weeks.
Well, Willie was there for two
years and the team was na-
tionally-ranked both seasons.
He averaged 14 points as a
freshman and 16 points as a
sophomore.
"We talked a lot of times by
phone while he was there.
He'd love to call me at 10:30
or 11:00 at night and tell me
what was going on."
Wright went back to Mid
Plains last fall to complete his

Photos by Glenn Triest

STEVE STEIN

Golding oversees an Oak Park practice.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

47

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