Tahlequah Daily Press

High School Sports

May 17, 2013

Dyson, Dotson hired as Tahlequah hoops coaches

(Continued)

New spot for Pat

When Hulbert wrapped up its 2011-2012 season, Dotson — at the end of his second season in charge of Hulbert’s boys basketball team — got a call from then-Tahlequah coach MIke Leafgreen.

“Mike was like, ‘I need some help,’” Dotson recalled. With that said, Dotson left Hulbert and became an assistant coach on Leafgreen’s staff in 2012-2013.

Now, Dotson is the guy calling the shots for the boys basketball program. Leafgreen was let go around spring break because of “academic reasons.”

“Mike and I are great friends and we’ve been friends for a long time,” Dotson said. “We both know this is the job we chose, so we know there are odd wrinkles in it from time to time.”

Dotson, 60, will command at Tigers team that posted a 8-16 mark this past season. Tahlequah also failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs, dating back to 2010.

Yet, the only player Tahlequah won’t have back next season is point guard Lain Wright.

“I’m fired up,” Dotson said. “Obviously, real excited about being here.”

Identifying his first order of duty, Dotson said he wants to implement a program that has roots all the way down into the elementary-aged players.

“What I’m super interested in is player development,” Dotson said. “We had 23 guys come in yesterday, and we still had four guys that weren’t able to be there. So we’re looking at 27 guys in the varsity program.

“...My focus needs to be program development. We don’t do much with fifth and sixth graders. We have to go down low and start early. There has to structured and headed in the right direction.”

Hiring process

Tahlequah’s search for two new head basketball coaches didn’t span the country. It barely made it out of county lines.

That’s because both Dyson and Dotson were a few feet away from their predecessors only five months ago.

“In our circumstances,” Presley said, “we got the two best applicants.”

Thorne, Gilbert and Presley were all asked how many applications were turned in for both jobs. Thorne said he was unsure of the actual number, deferring any athletic applications to Gilbert.

“I know we didn’t have a huge number of applicants,” Thorne said. “...I really depend on the athletic director to do this. I have 1,200 kids and 80 teachers (at the high school), so I have a lot to say grace over.”

Presley told the Daily Press that there were “about” 10 applicants for both jobs combined. Gilbert did not offer up a specific number.

“I really don’t want to get into that,” he said. “I do know many applicants [there were], and we did call around and talked to others. We didn’t beg anybody; we tasted to see who was interested.”

Presley’s hopes are that both Dyson and Dotson are in charge of their teams for a long period of time.

“We want to build some longevity,” Presley said. “We want quality individuals coaching out students, and we want to build character for our kids. And if we can build those characteristics in our students, we’re going to be very happy. And then we want success, obviously.”

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