By Ralphine Major
“He cared a lot about his players individually, and he cared a lot about his team,” Mike Graves said in describing his former coach, Bob Dagley. Ron, Mike’s brother, started for the Eagles during the ‘64-65 season. Mike was one of the talented players Dagley called on to substitute when certain situations arose. It was not until the next year that the athletic junior became a starter. Whatever his role, Graves had plenty to say about the beloved Eagles’ coach.
“Dagley was a very fair coach to all his players. He knew what he was doing and worked hard to create a team unit with diverse personalities. He looked for the strengths in each player and built on their individual abilities to make them be the best they could be for the team,” No. 41 remembers. Dagley had already told me how he tried to use the strengths of each player without trying to change them. For one of his former players to recognize the coach’s efforts is special.
Mike recalls that Coach Dagley evaluated their weaknesses and had them work to overcome those. Some of the work he did with the players both individually and with the team was about mental toughness. “If there was a problem with a player, he handled the problem individually with no one else knowing anything about it,” Mike said. “At the time we did not realize what he was doing on an individual basis,” he added.
“Dagley pieced everything together to get things to work,” Mike said. “He evaluated the game and players for the other team and selected his substitutes based on defense, offense, and skill. I think Coach Dagley’s greatest strength as a coach was how he handled the mental aspect of each individual player and the team as a whole,” he added. Even today, Eagles fans are still grateful to the former coach. He took a team from the small, rural school and turned their season into a 31-2 record! (This is No. 33 in the series.)