The 2016-17 basketball season will be the final time Steve Dickerson gets to do what he loves : coach basketball.

Dickerson is entering his 46th season as a basketball coach. Before coming to Pacific Lutheran University, Dickerson was a high school coach in the Columbus, Ohio area for 33 years. He won 200 games in 19 years as a head coach. Dickerson led team reached one state final, a regional title, two district championships, nine sectional titles and four league championships.

Dickerson came to PLU in 2004. Since then, Dickerson has become the winningest PLU men’s basketball coach in program history. Last season was Dickerson’s most successful at PLU. The team had 17 wins and 10 losses, eventually falling to Whitworth in the conference championship game. Former player, now assistant coach Arvid Isaksen’s favorite memory of coach Dickerson came from last season.

“The joy on both his face and the team after our big win against Whitman in the Northwest Conference semifinals last year,” Isaksen said. “Coach Dickerson was able to control his excitement (as a classy coach would do) before we celebrated in the locker room. I haven’t seen a smile that big from him in a long time.”

Dickerson has had an impact on hundreds, if not thousands, of athletes’ lives. Players coached by Dickerson while at PLU have earned Northwest Conference honors 16 times. Tony Polis, Kai Hoyt and Terrell Williams had this to say about their coach.

“Coach was a great mentor for me during my time on campus,” Tony Polis, ‘11, said. “I felt like he was truly invested in my development as a player, student and person. I am grateful that he made me tougher and pushed me everyday in practice.”

Kai Hoyt ‘14, said, “Coach Dickerson is one of the rare coaches who sees the big picture in college athletics. “He provides his players with a recipe of success for life after PLU basketball. Steve’s players arrive at PLU as boys and graduate as well-rounded young men.”

Terrell Williams, ‘15, said that “Coach Dickerson was a great coach and even better man.” Williams noted that Dickerson “Help[ed] prepare me for life outside of basketball and help me be able to attend PLU. A great man that did so much for me while I was at PLU.”

The team knows that this is coach Dickerson’s final year at the helm. They want to give him as much as he’s given the basketball program and the PLU community.

“He has given so much to my teammates and I, as well as the entire PLU community,” senior Erik Swartout said. “So my hope is to finish off his career with a trip to the NCAA tournament. We will do our best to see that through.”

After the 2016-17 basketball season, Steve Dickerson will have to find something new to do like spend time with his loving wife Christine. In the meantime, Dickerson and his team plan to take advantage of every opportunity in front of them.

“The hardest thing is leaving the kids,” Dickerson said. “I’m going to enjoy this. I’m going to enjoy the little things more than I have. I’ve been very fortunate. Very few people can do what they love to do for 46 years.” ◼︎

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