Coaching is not a great career if you are concerned with job security. That said, to have two coaches at one place for more than 15 years is remarkable, and that’s exactly what Salt Lake Community College basketball has in Betsy Specketer and Norm Parrish. To honor their longevity, Bruins past and present came to Taylorsville this last weekend to celebrate what has become such a rarity in sports.
In talking with the coaches, seeing the passion that they have for SLCC basketball is easy. Specketer grew up in Illinois, taking the top job after two years as an assistant here.
“I love the school. It’s grown to be a part of who I am. I’ve kind of grown up here as a coach,” Specketer said.
She said many things have changed about basketball over the years, but that they’ve “absolutely” been positive. While she’s clear that it’s the “players [who] have to win,” she said that she hopes she has given back “a love for the game.” As far as what she wishes for her alumni, she added, “Hopefully you’ve developed some friendships and some bonds with people that can be lifelong. I hope that they have learned that from me through the years.”
As for why he’s still on the Bruin bench, Parrish quipped, “Cause I haven’t been fired yet.” Coming here after a few short coaching stints elsewhere, Parrish then offered a serious reason about why he hasn’t left. He said, “The opportunities that have arisen [to leave] haven’t been worth it.”
The events to commemorate the occasion tipped off on Friday with a look at Bruin past, as alumni gathered for some “friendly” pick-up games. Parrish and Specketer both took the opportunity to change jobs for a night, skillfully doing the play-by-play over the PA system. On Saturday following the match-ups versus Snow College, a championship game was held for the men, pitting alumni from 1986-1995 against those since 2005. The “Legends” knocked off “Generation X” 71-65 in an intense overtime battle.
The festivities continued Saturday with a banquet held in honor of Parrish. Alumni, Coach Specketer, Athletic Director Norma Carr, SLCC President Dr. Cynthia Bioteau, and many others came.
Specketer spoke of Parrish’s competitive spirit, his fun-loving, humorous attitude and his consistency. “His lessons are year in and year out, but the results are always the same.”
Former players spoke of Parrish’s “shut up and play” mindset, as well as of being better people because of the influence he had on their lives.
The day was also great for the SLCC teams of 2010-2011 as Snow College came to town. The Lady Bruins didn’t score until a Jami Mokofisi lay-up four minutes in, but there would be a lot of her throughout the first half, as she was consistently able to impose her will down low. Such play led to a 26-25 Bruin lead at the break.
As the tempo increased in the second half, Mokofisi continued to dominate. She then took a rest with 10 minutes left, and the Haley Holmstead highlight hour immediately began as she converted a 3-point play off a great pass from Ame’ White. She reeled off a crazy 26 points in the second half, finishing with 32 total, sealing the deal with another 3-point play with 1:13 left as SLCC won 72-60. Mokofisi had 16 points and 17 boards.
The men started opposite from the women, as they got off to a quick start, but found themselves down by 13 with two minutes left in the first half, struggling offensively against the Badgers. After a timeout, the Bruins closed the half on a 9-0 run to trail just 39-35.
The spurt continued in the second stanza, as SLCC quickly found themselves up by 6. Snow stayed close for a while, but led by Patrick McCollum, Alfonzo Hubbard and Given Kalipinde, SLCC found themselves up by 13 with four minutes to go, the margin they’d win by, 95-82. Hubbard scored 24, McCollum added 23.
With nights like Saturday, we all ought to be looking forward to another 20 years of Bruin hoops.