Archive for August, 2008


Doonie – Fast & Quick

August 31, 2008

There is a difference between fast and quick … at least in my mind there is.  As a soccer coach, I used to explain to my players that a keeper had to be both.  If he got caught outside of the box and the opposing team sent a long ball …  he had to be fast enough to get back in the goal ahead of any attempted shot and then once there, quick enough to move feet, hands, body in the direction that the shot was going.  A defensive back needed to be fast and quick —  fast enough to run down the striker and quick enough with the foot work to pick the ball away before the shot could be made.  Fast and quick – soccer, basketball, baseball – yes – but in cross country track?

It was a meet against Warwick High School on their course in Mariners’ Museum.  I think it was one of the first meets of the season and we had a bunch of new, unproven, younger runners.  The Warwick team had taken position to warm up by the end of the row of crepe myrtles lining the dirt road.  We were warming up, stretching out closer to the gate coming off Warwick Boulevard.

We were in our usual pre-meet mode – Billy had the nervous whizzies, Al was in a cold sweet, I was making sure my hair was in place and my shirt was tucked in ( not one of Julie’s better runners)… and the new guy … Timberlake was dashing around like a half-back zig-zagging thru a defensive line of crepe myrtles.

“Billy, is that guy really any good — is he all that fast?” I asked as we rubbed Kramer’s Atomic Balm on our legs.

“Don’t know – but he’s quick- he looks like a beagle chasing rabbits” mumbled Billy.  I think Billy had a James Dean complex and tried to be unheard.

About that time a rabbit actually ran into the area where we were warming up.

“Hey Timberlake, you all that fast – catch that rabbit.” I yelled.

With that, Ronnie (Timberlake) took out after the little creature, zig-zagging back and forth thru the trees, across the open field and down the dirt road.  They were hauling … we were laughing and Coach Conn was beginning to go into a slow rotation, pivoting on one foot with unlit cigar clamped between his teeth and his fist balled.  And then it happened – Ronnie reached down, grabbed the rabbit by it’s hind feet and flipped it.

“He’s quick,” mumbled Billy — “He’s a damn Doonie-Bird,” yelled Julie.

There it was — “Doonie”.  Just like in Cool Hand Luke — Timberlake had earned his name – Doonie.

Not only did Ronnie earn his name that day, becoming a member of what Coach Conn periodically referred to as his “4 D’s” (Dorner, Douthat, Dossey and now Doonie), not only did he prove that he WAS quick … he also proved to everyone that he was fast – very fast coming in second on the heels of Warwick’s Tommy Morris – the #1 distant runner in the state.

Now if I can only remember how I came about earning my name. What was it Coach called me … “Dossey, you slow-ass-short-legged-good-for-nothing-son-of-a…”  OH YEAH, now I remember.

From Jim Dossett (’66) of FL


Isn’t This Fun?!?

August 31, 2008

I think I’m getting the hang of this now…maybe…..


“Last Quarter” – Jim Dossett

August 31, 2008

Last Quarter

At one time or another, most of us had to do the 600 yard “run-walk” as part of our phys-ed evaluation.  I had a bit of talent even in elementary school and could actually run.  My brother accredited it to growing up on 37th street and having to run through the alleys in order to avoid a tail kicking by some of the meaner guys. So, the 600 wasn’t all that bad, especially if “Butch P” or “Junior M” weren’t on my heels with a stick or a piece of a brick in hand.  600 yards … not all that bad. But add another 280 yards and you had a killer distance.  Too long to haul tail all the way, but too short to pace yourself, saving for a “kick” at the end.  I hated the ½ mile race.  Fortunately Coach Conn had tagged me a distance runner which meant that I only saw 880’s when running ups n downs during practices. That is UNTIL that unfortunate track meet some time in my senior year.

“Dossey” … (Dossett was too formal and Jimmy was too friendly for the Coach) …”Dossey, stop screwing off and get your ass over here”.

If you ever heard Coach when he was upset …  oh hell, who am I kidding…  if you EVER heard/saw Coach Conn talk to one of his “boys” at any time you can envision him stooping over cocking his head to the side as if listening to the ground, gritting his teeth as he spoke and squeezing his fists as he walked in a tight circle.

“Dossey, damn it … come here.”  He was standing with Coach Nuttycombe  near the goal post at the south end of the field.

“Yes Sir,” I panted, afraid that he had discovered that I had cut out on practice the day before to go see my girlfriend at Warwick.

“You’re running the half.”

“W..W..What?”  I stuttered.

“Damn it, are you deaf as well as slow?” he yelled …  Nuttycombe smiled and walked away.

“Two of our half milers are out and your two mile event is later in the meet …  get out of your sweats, you’re running the half.”

“Coach, I have no idea how to run it —  how to pace myself.”

“Pace yourself, pace yourself?  I don’t expect you to win —  just run the damn race.”  He turned away to head across the field.  Then without even looking back at me, he waved his hand for me to go to where he had stopped to speak with Nuttycombe at about the 20 yard line.

“OK —  this is what you do.  First quarter give it everything you got, haul ass around that track.  I want you to be at the front of the pack at the end of the first quarter …  so haul ass the first quarter.”

“What do I do for the second quarter?” I asked.

“Pick it up.” was his reply.  Nuttycombe broke into a laugh and walked away as I stood there with mouth open.

Surprisingly to all, I took a third place. But more importantly, Coach Conn had given me another one of his lessons that applied in life as much as on the cinders …

Even when you think you have given it everything you can …  you can still reach deep down and pull out just a little more.

Jim Dossett (’66) of FL


Coaches Corner

August 31, 2008

The last couple of letters have had stories or articles about either  Coach Conn or  Coach Nuttycombe.  I know that Coach Conn wasn’t the most politically correct person in the world and that perhaps some of the things he said may have been harmful to a fragile 8th grader.  HOWEVER, he was a great coach and he did produce champions.  In additions, his behavior and “speeches” have given me and hundreds of others many stories to share.  And yes, upon my first meeting of “the Coach” he asked if I was related to the other “Dossett” that had gone to NNHS in the 50’s.  When I answered yes he made some similar comment that others have lamented about.  With me that lasted about as long as it to me to get out of his office with my new gym suit in hand.

At one of  Dee (Hodges) Bartram’s (’66 – of VA) gatherings earlier this year,  (Al) Dorner (’66 – of VA) and I were telling those sitting at our table about our “first marathon” that Coach Conn made us run —- from W&M back to NNHS.  We talked about stories …  how Ronnie Timberlake became known as Doonie and how it was Al’s responsibility to call (Bill) Douthat (’66 – of VA) to make sure he was awake for meets.  People seemed to enjoy the stories.  I’m sure that many of your other readers can share stories (nice, lessons learned, funny stories) about Coach Conn and some of the others.  Funny, nobody ever mentioned that  Lefty Driesell coached at NNHS.

So what about creating a “coaches corner” link for such stories to be shared, perhaps grouping them under each coaches name or each sport.  You already have a “coaches” link … just that it would be nice to have one with the good stuff about these important men and women that influenced us in so many GOOD ways.

If you do, a side note to Coach Al Dorner —  I’ve got dibs on the telling of the “marathon”, “Doonie” and “Hate to lose prayer”.

Attached is my first contribution —  actually second.  You have already published “My four D’s” story when I last saw Coach Conn.

… and yes …  when referring to “the Coach”… the  “C” is always capitalized.

Jim Dossett (’66) of FL


This Week’s Birthdays

August 31, 2008


Happy Birthday this week to:

23 – Newell Blayton (’57) AND Bettie Bracey Gosner (’57):

25 – Janey Roane Harper (’57);

26 – My Sister, Eleanor Buckley Nowitzky (’59) of NC AND Bill Roady (’60) of VA;

27 – Harry Horace (Crystal River HS, FL – ’65) of FL;

30 – Don Chaney (’66) of MD AND Adrienne Harty (Hillsboro HS, American School, IL) of IL;
31 – Helen Flax Kierstead (’58) of Ontario
AND Anne Sawyer Turpin (’65) of VA!

Many Happy Returns to One and All!


Prayer Roll

August 31, 2008


As of 08/17/08, the page originally suggested by Frances Goodson Wang (’65) of MD on 01/22/04 has been reactivated: – updated 08/26/08

Hopefully, this will help address the problem in a number of ways. Just don’t forget to click on it each time!


How to use this blog

August 31, 2008

This blog is meant to replace the old email newsletter system that my mom (Carol Buckley Harty) has been / is still using.  I thought it would help her not consume sooo much of her life creating mailings every day, and would be better than the mass email for a variety of reasons.  The most notable improvement would be that people could have ongoing discussions about old topics and those old topics would automatically get popped to the top of the list of things to see.  But I wanted to retain a certain amount of control for my Mom, as she is completely OCD when it comes to doing her newsletters just so.  With that in mind, here’s how it should probably work in the future:

Let’s say, for the example’s sake, that one you newsletter subscribers has some bit of news that you want to share with all the other classmates – perhaps a child’s engagement to be married and a few pictures.   Here’s what you do:  email Mom at  Exactly like you would do to get it posted in a newsletter.  Now, instead of making a newsletter, Mom will take your news and create a new post at the blog.  All your classmates will see that there is a new post in the recent posts section right on the front page of the blog.  Then they, Mom, and you, will be able to post comments on the new post, such as “ooh isn’t she pretty in the picture with them kissing on the bridge!” and so on.

Any post that receives a new comment will be highlighted under the “Recent Comments” section on the front page – even if the original post labeled “Coach Conn” (for example) was first put on the blog 3 1/2 years ago.

In other words, the news blog gives the subscribers to the website new power to comment instantly on new discussion items, and see what everyone else is saying, while still retaining the ability to look through older posts (easier than ever with a nice search function, I might add) and also retaining Mom’s obsessive need to manage the original posts and format the text and pictures of the original poster, just how she wants to.

Happy Blogging!

Dale Harty (Hillsboro HS, IL / American School, IL – ’02) of MA – 06/01/08