On Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, Sinclair sports alumni and current student athletes gathered in the building 8 gym to honor the legacy of DeSean Hadley and Norma Dycus, the second pair of inductees in the Sinclair Athletics Hall of Fame.
Hadley played Basketball for the college from 1996-1998, winning the NJCAA Division 2 National Player of the Year award in 1998 and he holds several records at Sinclair.
Dycus was instrumental to Sinclair for starting the softball program, coaching softball and volleyball for 20 years and serving as the Athletic Director from 2000-2008.
Like last year’s celebration, Tom Archdeacon, columnist for the Dayton Daily News, was the Master of Ceremonies, recalling stories and anecdotes relating to each speaker brought up onto the stage.
The first to speak was Baz van Willigen, a teammate of Hadley. Willigen stated that he pushed for Hadley to enter the hall of fame shortly after last years ceremony.
He spoke of the four traits that made Hadley deserving of the nod; this included his “great million dollar smile,” his humble, down to earth attitude that separated him from other famous players, the way he supported his team on and off the court and finally his unselfish play style that gave everyone a chance to shine and made the team better.
The next to speak was former Sinclair basketball coach Paul Bryant. He was the head coach and mentor for Hadley and recalled a conversation with him at the start of his second season.
“He said to me, I want to be the best player in the conference,” Bryant said.
He also recalls the slow start the team had during its 1997-98 season, losing a number of their first few games.
The team played against Owens Community College, the #2 ranked college at the time. The Tartans kept up with Owens, and a late game three point shot from the Jaguars was somehow blocked by Hadley, preventing them from getting the lead.
This one move fired the team up and allowed them to take that momentum all the way to the Regional tournament that season.
Like several of the speakers, Bryant stressed that while Hadley was a great basketball player, he was an even better person devoted to his family and his community.
Hadley then took the stage, accepting his award from athletic director Jeff Price and addressing those in attendance. He states that he is a man of few words, and didn’t expect the honor, but he is truly grateful for it.
He spoke of his struggles, as he was cut from his freshman and sophomore teams at Patterson Co-Op and received no scholarship offers following high school.
Hadley wasn’t even aware that Sinclair had a basketball team before being given a chance by Don Cundiff, the basketball coach at the time.
Hadley made the most of his freshman year, learning from the upperclassmen and honing his play style. The next year he talked to new coach Paul Bryant, and as Hadley says, “He handed me the keys to the Sinclair red Tartan Lambogini.”
He certainly made the most of this role, as he is the only player in Sinclair history to average at least 15 points per game, 8 rebounds per game, 5 assists per game and 2 steals per game for his whole career. He holds 899 career points (the 17th most of all time) and 198 free throws made (the 10th most of all time).
Now living in Atlanta, he runs a couple of small businesses and fathers two daughters, aged 17 and 8. However, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from or the journey he took to get to the hall of fame.
“I’ve been at the bottom, been cut, been to the top, and won championships,” he said. “So the Hall of Fame means a lot to me.”
After this, Angie Arnold, the chair of radiologic technology and a former player under coach Dycus, took the stage to speak of the impact Dycus made on her.
She recalled a time when Dycus came to her high school for recruiting purposes and offered her a scholarship. This was despite the fact that Arnold had a poor outing that season due to a knee injury.
She used this example to champion Dycus’s ability to see potential in someone even if they don’t see it in themselves.
The next to speak was Glenna Perkins, a former player under Dycus who also served as an assistant coach with her. She reflected on the many life lessons she learned from her, including developing confidence:
“The lessons I learned from coach Dycus carried over to every other aspect of my life,” Perkins said. “She always encouraged us to be competitive not only against our opponents but to compete with ourselves and become better.”
Dycus then took center stage to accept her spot, stating: “I can’t believe that I get this honor for something that I love to do.”
Dycus has quite a legacy at Sinclair that started in 1976. After leaving her alma mater of MacMurray College (where she coached five different sports) she became the volleyball coach for the Tartan Pride.
Archdeacon described one of the first actions she took at Sinclair in his Oct. 26 column:
“I remember the first thing I did at Sinclair was make them throw out the T-shirts that said ‘Sinclair Girls Volleyball’ on them,” Dycus said. “We were women… not girls.”
At the time the men’s teams had two separate locker rooms; one for the home team, and one for the visitors. However, the women were all forced to change together in the community locker room. Dycus got that changed immediately as well.
The following year she created a softball team for the college and made them practice fast pitch style, which was uncommon at the time. She coached softball from 1977-1989, and volleyball from 1976-1996.
Over 22 seasons she amassed a record of 407 wins (the most in school history) and 284 losses. Her 36 wins earned in 1994 stands as the single season record.
She worked as the Assistant Athletic Director from 1978-2000 and took the position as the head Assistant Athletic Director form 2000-2008, a feat that was far from common for women in the 70s and 80s.
As Athletic Director she oversaw seven straight winning seasons in baseball and sent seven women’s tennis teams to the national tournament.
Addressing those in the building 8 gym, she stated that she had to stand tall and hold her ground. She never considered coaching as a career, let alone working as the Athletic Director. She told the crowd that she owed that to Sinclair, as they gave her a lot of freedom to pursue administrative duties.
Title IX passing shortly after she graduated high school also helped open doors for her, and she states that the act “changed her life.”
While she struggled to remember any specific memories from her coaching days, Dycus holds the time she spent on the road transporting her teams to games in high regard.
This was the time where she learned to appreciate new music, and more importantly, she became more in tune with the personality and character of her players.
She has been very active in the NJCAA, holding every position available besides president. The NJCAA Region XII named their sportsmanship award in her honor.
Dycus ended her speech by directing comments to everyone in the gym, saying: “You have enriched my life more than you can ever imagine. Thank you for this honor.”
Following this, Archdeacon and Price said their final comments, and Sinclair students, athletes and alumni gathered together, reminiscing about old times and sharing their Tartan Pride.