At this time of the year Dick DeLaney would usually be getting his West Chester University basketball team ready for summer-league play and preparing to speak at various basketball camps.
But this summer is different for the veteran coach who spent 21 years taking the Rams' basketball program to new heights. After assessing what he had accomplished and looking at some aspects of the coaching culture that he doesn't like, DeLaney announced in April that he was stepping down. It became effective last Sunday.
DeLaney said wearing two hats, one as basketball coach and one as chief fund-raiser for scholarships at the NCAA Division II school got to be too much. He was tired of the money chase and the climate it sometimes created.
"It's been quite an adjustment after all those years in the business," said DeLaney, who added that he's not in a hurry to decide what he's going do to next. DeLaney, 61, did not rule out coaching again. But it would certainly not involve fund-raising.
"There were all sorts of good things about the [coaching] job - the camaraderie, friendships; but I began to run out of ideas for fund-raising," said DeLaney. He figures he raised more than $500,000 for scholarships over the years.
"I tapped family, friends, alumni and industry. It's easier for some people. Don't misunderstand, we're not the Lone Rangers here [at West Chester] when it comes to fund-raising, but frankly I got tired of going to the same people."
DeLaney also said he did not like some of the things he sees going on in the recruiting process at some schools. According to DeLaney, the playing field isn't always level in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
"Some tactics [schools use] are not good," the coach said. "And we were losing some kids to Division III schools because they could offer a better financial-aid package. It's the nature of the beast."
DeLaney, a 1969 graduate of the university where he played basketball, baseball and soccer, leaves West Chester as the school's all-time winningest coach. The Rams were 370-213 under his leadership and won four PSAC Eastern Division championships. They appeared in the Division II playoffs five times and recorded eight 20-win seasons.
Although his Rams failed to make the PSAC playoffs for the second year in a row this winter (finishing with a 12-13 record), he said those circumstances had nothing to do with his decision to step down.
"I've been considering this for the last year or two," DeLaney said.
WCU athletic director Ed Matejkovic acknowledged that DeLaney had previously talked to him about stepping down.
"We've been very competitive under Dick," said Matejkovic, DeLaney's classmate at West Chester when they were undergraduates. "It's going to be an adjustment. I'm going to have to find someone to keep this going.
"More important, Dick was a leader with the coaches here. When they had a problem, they could turn to him."
Since resigning, DeLaney, who began his head basketball coaching career at Great Valley High School in the 1970s, has had time to watch his younger son, Michael, play baseball for Springfield (Delco) High School.
"Coaching, I missed most of his games. This spring, I didn't miss a game and I got to throw batting practice for the team," DeLaney said with a smile.