Blogs > Burney's Bytes

Burney's Bytes will focus primarily on the local preps sports scene, but will also touch on some college and pro athletics, mostly in regards to athletes who hail and have played high school sports in Oakland County. My goal for the blog is to be conversational and anecdotal, a more relaxed and free formal take on high school athletics than you see in regular game day coverage.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hey, These Guys Can Play Too!

Everybody knows about the outstanding stable of basketball coaches Oakland County sports on a year in, year out basis, but few probably know much about the high-quality playing careers of some of these spectacular sideline chiefs.
So without further ado and for your reading pleasure, your boy Burney is about the drop some mad knowledge regarding a few of them:
Dan Fife (Clarkston) – The best all-around athlete to ever come out of the athletic-rich and enthusiastically-rabid C-Town community, playing QB for the Wolves football squad, point guard for the hoops squad, and pitching for the baseball team. Fife played basketball and baseball at Michigan before going on to have a MLB career with the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins.
Derek Wiley (Waterford Mott) – Played for Dan Fife at Clarkston where Wiley started in the backcourt with Dan's all-state son, Dugan, and led the Wolves to regional championships and back-to-back trips to the Elite Eight in 1991 and 1992. Wiley went on to play college baseball at Oakland University.
Tim Wasilk (Clarkston girls) – Top-notch outside shooter who shared backcourt duties with Dan Fife's two younger sons, Jeremy and Dane in the mid-1990s. Continued tickling the twine in college for Grand Valley State.
Mike Avery (Southfield-Lathrup) – A member of arguably the greatest boys high school hoop squad in state history. Avery won back-to-back state titles at Flint Northwestern alongside future pro athletes like Glen Rice (Michigan/NBA), Jeff Grayer (Iowa State/NBA), and Andre Rison (Michigan State/NFL) prior to going onto a stellar college career at Central Michigan.
Kurt Keener (DCD) – Played a rugged power forward for some very good Ferndale Eagles teams in the 1970's. Keener assistants, Jason Webber and Rick Palmer, could also do some balling back in the day and they both did for the big boss man himself. Webber (Michigan State/Central Michigan) captained the 'Jackets 1995 state championship team and Palmer (Albion) was a steady-shooter and gritty leader for Keener's early-2000's teams.
Tom Staton (Ferndale) – Starred at Ferndale in the mid-1970s as a hard-nosed leader on the hardwood and a standout student in the classroom. Staton played his college ball at Michigan and was a member of the Wolverines 1976 Final Four team that lost in the NCAA championship game to an undefeated Indiana squad.
Mychal Covington and Nucleus Smith (Pontiac assistant coaches) – Covington, the heir-apparent to the Phoenix hoops throne held currently by Robert Rogers, was a spry wing and glue-like defender for Pontiac Northern who went on to play his college ball down the road at Oakland University. Smith was a beast of a prepster and led the Northern Huskies to the Class A Final Four back in 1999.
Tim Webb (Pontiac Central) – Webb was a microwave of instant offense from the outside playing for Pontiac Central in the early-to-mid 1990s. He had range and could score 'em in bunches.
Steve and Paul Robak (Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes girls) – The Robak family is like royalty at Lakes and it all started with Steve, the girls head coach, who was an all-state guard for the school back in the mid-1980s. Steve's baby brother, Paul, as well, as a number of sister Robaks, kept the trend of quality Robak athletes at WOLL alive after his graduation in 1985. Paul, Steve's top assistant for an exceptionally well-run Lakers girls program, earned all-state honors in the 90s for the school. During his junior campaign in 1993, Paul led the Lakers all the way to the Class D Final Four. Oh and let us not forget about WOLL assistant girls coach, Taryn Stevens. She could play a little bball too. Stevens helped lead Lakes to Catholic League, district and regional titles as a senior in 2009. She was also one of the top 3-point bombers around the girls county hoops scene in both her junior and senior seasons.
Ron Thompson (WL Northern) – Thompson was a starting guard on one of the most memorable and exciting teams that Oakland County produced in the final quarter of the 20th Century: the 1993 Walled Lake Central "Victory Vikes", who ran their record to 25-0 and claimed league, district and regional crowns before bowing to a stacked Detroit Pershing team in the Class A Elite Eight. The Vikings played an inspired brand of Rick Pitino-style bball that was fun to watch and generated a ton of points (a lot of them by the 3-ball, up to 30 shot per game by head coach Steve Emert's Victory Vikes). What also made that team so special is that the entire rotation was based around a core of six seniors who were best friends and had grown up playing together since they were practically in diapers.
Ernie Righetti (Birmingham Roeper) – Despite what it might look like from his grey hair and portly appearance, Righetti was a lightning-quick point guard as a prepster at Wayne Memorial back in the early 1970s. He could fill 'em up from downtown as well and continued to "shake and bake" the competition in college at Olivet. Roughriders assistant coach, Laddie Andahazy , was also quite a ball player himself when he was a high schooler. Andahazy (Albion), a three time all conference forward, who could hurt you inside and out, captained back-to-back district championship teams for Righetti in 2000 and 2001 respectively.
Tom and Todd Negoshian (North Farmington) – This father-son team of coaches could do some serious damage in their day on the hardwood. Tom played at Eastern Michigan. Todd was a hot-shooting point guard who had a knockout career as a prepster at Walled Lake Central and then helped lead Cornerstone to a D3 Final Four.
Josh Daniels (Birmingham Brother Rice assistant/JV coach) – Daniels was a tough-as-nails point guard for some very talented RO Shrine squads back in the mid-1990s. He was the kind of player that didn't look like much in warm-ups but once you hit the floor was the ultimate-thorn in the side of any team he went up against with his heady-leadership, relentless defense, and solid shooting.
Jeff Rubin (BH Andover) – Rubin was a standout prepster around the Philly-area in the mid-90's, playing AAU ball with Kobe Bryant and then taking it to the next level with a local D2 squad.
Lance Baylis (Holly) – Baylis used to shoot the lights out as a mad gunner for the Groves Falcons back in the late-1970s. He would continue shooting the lights out in college playing at D1 Stetson down in Florida. (Can you believe coach Baylis used to roam the halls with the OP's very own Pat "The Book" Caputo at Groves back in the day. I hear "The Book" was the same as he is today, only with shaggier hair and less of a beer belly…lol)
Corey Heitch (Novi) – This guy could ball with the best of them a decade or so ago at Walled Lake Central.
Billy Shellenbarger (Clawson) – 'Coach Shell' wss the protypical gym rat, growing up a coaches kid up in Gladwin. He was a super stud on the court playing for his pops as a prepster and then went onto a good college career at Lake Superior State.
Craig Rhoads (MH Madison assistant) – Rhoads was a rock-steady guard for some quality Berkley teams back in the 1990s, winning a district title under his dad, longtime Bears and current Madison Eagles coach, Steve Rhoads, in 1993 as a senior.
Jeremy Denha and Mike Marayanski (Berkley)  Denha, the Bears head coach, Marayanski, his top assistant, were both mega-baller back in high school. Denha is from Sterling Heights and Marayanski hooped it up back in the day for MH Bishop Foley. 


Blogger hoopguy said...

Great Article! Good to see coaches using their calling to help youth.

March 2, 2010 at 2:25 PM 
Blogger hoopguy said...

Rochester High has a couple coaches too.

March 2, 2010 at 2:26 PM 
Blogger hoopguy said...

I think Rochester High has a couple of coaches that could be on this list too.

March 2, 2010 at 2:27 PM 

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