Coach Dale applauds the basketball team on the court during a game. (Photo by Joel Fernandez)
(COVINGTON, La.) For the past year and a half, St. Paul’s School basketball head coach Stephen Dale has been pushing his Wolves to the ultimate goal of a state championship. However, there is more to the man behind his team.
While attending Louisiana State University, Dale had a different plan for his life than the way it turned out.
“I spent my first two years in college as a political science major because I thought I was going to go to law school,” Dale said. “ I worked my first basketball camp at the end of my sophomore year of college back at Rummel, where I went to high school. I fell in love with the coaching part of it, so I switched my major into education and got certified in history.”
According to junior Blake Ramsey, a student in Dale’s classroom and an athlete on the basketball court, Dale pushes his students and athletes in different ways to get similar outcomes.
“He is very different in the classroom and on the court,” Ramsey said. “He is much calmer in the classroom than he is on the court. He is pushing us to our hardest in both, but it just different methods. In the classroom, you do your work and have to stay on track, but on the court he tells you what to do and correct yourself when you aren’t doing it right. He has always kept students and athletes interacted. ”
Dale also tries to make his classes and practices both interesting for the athletes and students.
“Teaching in the classroom and coaching on the court are actually very similar,” Dale said. “Both involve a great deal of planning, effective time management, and clear communication. Also, to keep students and players motivated, the environment has to be fun and upbeat but still structured. This responsibility is the exact same whether you are teaching in the classroom or coaching in the gym.”
Initially, Dale did not foresee developing a lasting career at St. Paul’s. However, when the opportunity to both coach and teach at St. Paul’s presented itself, Dale immediately felt a personal connection comparative to his own alma mater, Archbishop Rummel High School, another Lasallian school.
At the start of the 2017-2018 school year, Dale moved to Covington officially. According to Dale, it already feels like home, and he has no intention of leaving.
“I love the area,” Dale said. “ (My wife and I) live two to three minutes from campus, so we love the downtown Covington neighborhood. There are many places to eat and things to do on the weekend. As far as favorite activities to do, me and my wife have done some kayaking, some bike riding and it is just a neat place to be around. Me and my wife love Covington, we love St. Paul’s, and I think we will be here for a while.”