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.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Sad Day in C-Town

The area lost a great man this week.
His name is PAPA FIFE, the patriarch of the OC's first family of hoops…THE Fifes
He was the father of Clarkston longtime athletic director and boys basketball coach Dan Fife and grandfather of Dugan, Dane and Jeremy, who like their dad all played Division I hoops and are each the definition of a CLASS ACT on and off the court.
Where do you think it all came from? That's right, PAPA FIFE. He was there from the very start instilling the many admirable virtues that the whole Fife family embodies to this very day - not really a surprise when you consider he was a military vet who was on the frontlines of WWII and worked the coal mines in Southern Illinois as a young man.
I had the good fortune of getting to know PAPA FIFE back when I was in college at Indiana University. When Dane, now an assistant coach at Michigan State, played at IU in the late 1990s and early 2000s, PAPA FIFE and I used to sit near each other at Assembly Hall during Hoosiers games. He was the proudest grandpa in the building and I loved talking shop with him before and after every hard-fought contest.
What a man he was!! Burney's thoughts and prayers go out to the Fife family at this difficult time.
So do others' in the area's prep basketball scene.
Here's what North Farmington head coach Todd Negoshian, whose squad will play Clarkston in the Wolfden Tuesday evening with the OAA Red championship on the line, had to say.
"I was honored to have known Mr. Fife. He was a very honest and caring man. Every time I ran into him, he would always ask me how my family was and how the team is doing. His absence will definitely be felt on Tuesday night."
Negoshian knew PAPA FIFE since the days he was a kid, playing AAU ball with Dane.
Personally, I feel blessed to have received the opportunity to see PAPA FIFE one last time in the months before he passed. It was during a Clarkston game back in December and I went up and said hi, reminding him of our discussions at Assembly Hall over a decade ago.
He shook my hand and smiled and we had a small chuckle, reminiscing.  
That will be how I remember the man. And I think it's a pretty cool memory to have.
I'm sure the Fife family has a few thousand or so to keep close to their hearts in the future, too.


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