Dan Hudspeth: More than a Coach
June 15, 2008
Steamboat Springs — Some 30 years ago, I was a wayward kid who desperately needed a swift kick in the pants and mentor to look up to. Coach Meek was there for me then as he has been for more than a thousand kids on the basketball team and in the school system at Steamboat Springs High School since.
I remember well the terse letter of tough love he wrote me espousing the virtues of life as he reminded me: “Everyone has his time of failure, of defeat, of frustration, but no defeat or failure or frustration is permanent. There is always a next time. Life is good!”
For Coach Meek, it was never really about coaching basketball but rather teaching us about life beyond the hardwood floors. He views basketball as merely a conduit to mentoring so many kids. Coach Meek passionately thinks that basketball simply mirrors the many highs and lows in life that we would all soon encounter. Teamwork, tenacity and leadership, he often lectured us, will make us winners. He was right, and we are.
Integrity, honesty, respect and discipline were uncompromising values that Coach Meek instilled in, and demanded from, all of his basketball players. He was (and still is) always there as a father figure when we needed one, whether we knew it or not, to encourage us and give us hope when we were discouraged or felt hopeless as adolescents.
There aren’t many communities like Steamboat Springs so fortunate to have someone such as Coach Meek, who dedicated an entire life to one community, to one school, to one cause of positively influencing so many kids. Few seize the opportunity, as Coach Meek has, to be a role model to an entire generation of kids.
As a two-time All-State basketball player in the early 1980s, I was one of the many fortunate kids who Coach Meek mentored as a father figure, providing me with the necessary values to succeed in life. I am forever grateful. I still have that cherished letter he wrote me so along ago kept with copies of the many, many letters of love that I have written throughout the years to my daughters.
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While many consider Coach Meek one of the greatest all-time high school basketball coaches in Colorado, I know many kids during the past 30 years who consider him a great mentor, as I do, who just happened to coach basketball. Coach Meek was much, much more than a coach. In life, Coach Meek taught me well. Thanks, Coach.
Steamboat Springs High School
Class of 1981