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It’s a Shilts Family Affair at Calvin JV/KVCC Men’s Basketball Game

Thursday, December 02, 2010

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Kalamazoo Gazette Story on Shilts Family

KALAMAZOO - With her husband coaching to her left and her son coaching to her right, Carol Shilts figured she was a in a win-win situation Wednesday night. “I figured no matter what the final outcome, a Shilts would win,” she said with a laugh at the conclusion of Wednesday’s meeting between the Calvin men’s junior varsity basketball team and the Kalamazoo Valley Community College squad.

She was right.

In a special meeting between father-and-son, Kalamazoo Valley Community College prevailed over the Calvin men’s junior varsity basketball team 68-50. The host Cougars were led by longtime coach Dick Shilts who went head-to-head for the first time against his son Ricky Shilts who is in his first year as the Calvin men’s junior varsity coach.

The meeting will also serve as the only head-to-head meeting between the two as Dick has announced his retirement from coaching men’s basketball at KVCC at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season.

“I definitely have mixed emotions about this game,” said the elder Shilts who also serves as the athletics director at KVCC - a position he will continue to hold after retiring from coaching men’s basketball. “I take no satisfaction in winning this game. It was a special night but I’m glad it’s over. I’m just really proud of Ricky. He’s doing a great job and I look forward to watching him coach in the future rather than coach against him.”

KVCC (5-2) got off to a quick start, taking a 29-9 lead. The Calvin JV squad (0-3) fought back to trail just 31-20 at halftime and later clawed to within eight at 41-33 in the second half but could get no closer as as KVCC pulled away over the final eight minutes of regulation.

Featuring a pair of 6-9 post players in its starting lineup, KVCC held a 44-30 rebounding advantage with Povilas Gaidys leading the way with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Calvin was led in defeat by freshman Alex Mustert (Grand Rapids Christian HS) with 10 points.

The real story however was the matchup of father-and-son with the two sharing a pre-game hug instead of handshake before the game.

“It was definitely a little different,” said Ricky who played point guard for his father’s KVCC teams in 2002 and 2003 and later moved on to Calvin College where he played for current head coach Kevin Vande Streek and was the starting point guard on Calvin’s 2004-05 team that reached the NCAA III Final Four. “I kind of grew up in this gym as a kid, running around, serving as a waterboy, ballboy and later as a player. Now to coach here against my dad was definitely a new experience.”

Mother Carol was never far from either husband or son as she served as a spotter with the KVCC statcrew at the scorer’s table. “I’ve done a little bit of everything here over the years,” she said. “I’ve sold tickets, driven the bus, made popcorn, done stats, you name it. Whatever I can do to stay involved. It’s been fun.”

She also noticed several similarities between both head coaches Wednesday night. “They both hold their hands the same when they clap,” as she demonstrated a vertical clapping position with her hands. “And they hold their arms up on on their chest the same way when they pace the sidelines.”

As for any talk between the two coaches leading up to the game, there was plenty but most of the talk did not center on Wednesday’s game. “I talk to my dad a lot, ask him for advice,” said Ricky. “We didn’t talk to much about this game, just about how our seasons have gone thus far.”

According to Dick, father and son spent time fishing on the Kalamazoo River just a week prior. “We try to get out fishing in the morning when we can and we had the opportunity to do it last week,” said Dick who was inducted into the Basketball Coaches Association Michigan Hall of Fame in 1997. “We knew this game was coming up but Ricky didn’t mention it. We just had a great time together fishing for steelhead and walleye. Ricky has a great perspective about the game of basketball. I never tried to push him into coaching. This is something that he has chosen to do and I’m very happy and proud that he’s getting the opportunity to coach at a class program like Calvin.”

Posted in: Men's Basketball
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