Coach Don Brady had impact off court, too

Desert Sun sports assistant Britten Gerrard is a 2006 Palm Desert High School graduate who played on the varsity basketball team under coach Don Brady. Gerrard reflects on the kind of coach Brady was.

When coach Brady first told me he retired Tuesday I didn’t believe him. I told a couple of my former teammates and they were shocked. The alumni have had a running joke, saying “Brady won’t retire until he’s dead.” And the more I think about it, it’s true. He’ll always be a coach in some aspect of life.

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Coach Brady took his coaching very seriously. At every practice he would have note cards with everything he wanted accomplished that day. He was big on setting goals and following through.

Coach would always tell us when he was in high school he was “the 13th player on a 12-man team” because several guys were more athletic than him but he prided himself on outworking everyone else. That’s how PDHS basketball has been under Brady: Fundamentally sound and outworking the other team. He had that drive to succeed and that’s what players took from him as they moved on into the world.

There was always a sense of discipline and structure around Brady. Brady modeled his style after the great John Wooden and emphasized his “Pyramid of Success.” Coach was always looking for ways to improve by reading several books from various successful coaches at all levels of the game.

Most importantly though Brady was and still is always there for his students and players. He would always coach us, but at the same time let each of us form our own identity both on and off the court. It’s truly the end to a great era.

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