For Chad Dull, dean of the Learner Support and Transition division at Western Technical College, basketball runs in the family.
His father, Greg, was a high school basketball coach at three different schools in the area over his career: Tomah, Sparta, and Brookwood. Success was immediate; he earned conference championships at each school, and won over 400 games in his career.
“I’m 100 percent biased, but I think my dad is the best high school basketball coach in the Coulee Region,” said Dull. “He coached successfully at three high schools that didn’t have much, if any, history of success.”
Chad began playing basketball in 4th grade, loving the complexity of the sport. He played through high school, but he had coaching on his mind. After a stint managing at then-Viterbo College, Chad took a break from coaching, focusing on earning a degree to become a teacher.
After coaching at a few other places, Chad took an 11-year break from coaching altogether. It wasn’t until 2012, when his mom was diagnosed with cancer that he decided to get back in the gym.
“(My mom’s diagnosis) rocked my world,” said Dull. “I approached Western’s coach Ron Latva and offered to be a volunteer assistant.”
Four years later, Chad became head coach. His mom passed away in July of that year. The next year, his father retired from coaching in Brookwood.
“When I took over at Western, I said the door is open whenever he was ready,” said Dull.
So, in Chad’s second year coaching at Western, Coach Greg Dull became an assistant coach to his son.
“The players love ‘Coach Dad’ – that’s the name they gave him,” said Dull. “I’m ‘Coach Dull’ and they are pretty good at helping us stay in our roles.”
Despite the benefits of having a father-son combination on the bench, Chad admits that it hasn’t always been easy.
“He’s never been an assistant before, and we hadn’t coached together in 25 years so it’s been a little wild,” he said. “We drive each other nuts at times. Deferring to a boss has never been his best thing and having an assistant who is a local legend can be intimidating, especially when he used to change your diapers.”
Regardless of those challenges, Chad says he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’m a lot like my dad,” said Dull. “He’s always been clear that you have to care for your players at a deep level and I’ve taken that seriously. Especially as I’ve gotten older and my players are young enough to be my kids.”
Be sure to visit Western’s online News Center (www.westerntcnews.org) for all the latest scores and updates from Western’s basketball teams.
Photo Cred: Nate Beier