Perhaps no one said it better than Dickson County girls basketball coach Erin Webb:
“There are so many things more important than basketball.”
Still, it is basketball that brings so many together, from families to communities to schools across the nation.
And it is basketball- however small it may appear, compared to other things in life- that has linked together generations of Dickson County Cougars.
Nowhere was that more evident than Dickson County’s gym on Saturday’s “Pink Out” night, as DCHS honored breast cancer survivors and its Educators’ Hall of Fame nominees for this year.
One person, though, melded into each of those categories.
Eve Hamilton coached at Dickson County High School for 21 seasons, just the second coach in Lady Cougars history.
For four of those seasons (1999-2003), she coached Webb. But Hamilton also left impacts on students across the school, whether athletes or not.
“Coaches have to be good educators,” Webb said. “They have to be good teachers. She had many years of success.”
“When our community thinks about Lady Cougar basketball, you would be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn’t think of her,” Webb added. “She taught the Lady Cougars to be classy. She built a program of hardworking kids that were fundamentally sound.
“A lot of what I do coaching-wise is based on principles that I learned from (Hamilton).”
Those principles worked.
Webb’s Lady Cougars took down Waverly 70-35, with Caty Roberts chipping in 25 points to lead Dickson County (11-9, 8-4).
“Caty is one of the most selfless people I have ever coached,” Webb said. “They wanted to win so badly.”
And Hamilton was there for every second.
“She sits right next to the bench, she’s just right there. To know that that knowledge is right there is great for me,” Webb said with a laugh.
While Hamilton sits close to the action because of her experience as a former coach, she also nestles along the sideline because of a familiar face: her daughter, Kelsey, is one of Webb’s assistants.
On Tuesday’s 1260 Sports Hour, Hamilton called that “icing on the cake” with being able to watch her former player as the Lady Cougars’ head coach.
Dickson County (19-4, 10-3) also won its boys matchup on Saturday, a 65-50 victory in the Cougars’ first game without D.J. Stacy, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear against Centennial.
Cougars coach Hal Murrell noted that Stacy’s view was different from the sidelines, as “things happen so rapidly.. when you are in a uniform.”
But Murrell was also quick to note the off-court buzz, even having been at Dickson County for a short time.
“For them to come around like they did for (Hamilton), it was magical,” Murrell said.
Webb was quick to agree.
“The whole night, to me, was about her,” Webb said. “For me to get to see Coach Eve honored in the way she was was so special.”
Besides Hamilton, Dickson County also honored two other educators, Norman Lampley and Carl Pettes.
Both left lasting legacies in the DCHS system.
Lampley served as an agriculture teacher and started Dickson County’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) program, marking the Cougars’ first vocational teacher to be inducted into the Educators’ Hall of Fame as of Saturday.
He worked as an educator for 36 years and “has always been all about Dickson County High School,” according to principal Joey Holley.
Pettus, meanwhile, taught history for 11 years at DCHS, but he was more well-known for his time at Dickson Junior High.
“Most of his students- if anyone had them, they would say he was their favorite teacher in all of their education,” Holley said of Pettes. “He had a knack of making you feel one of two things when he talked about history: one, it made you feel like you were there as he was describing it, or two, he had just gotten back from there.
“He had a way of making you feel like you were there.”
Finally, Hamilton served as the Lady Cougars’ basketball coach, but she also coached tennis for 18 seasons while teaching aerobics, team games and recreational sports.
Altogether, Saturday night was one of honor, victory and community for Dickson County- all linked together by one pebbled leather ball.
And one woman whose impact few will ever forget.
“She is such a humble person,” Webb said of Hamilton. “I don’t think she realized how far her reach had extended.”