Wilcox Dedicates Gym in Honor of Beloved Coach; Hosts Alumni Game
By Robert Haugh
Coach. Role model. Mentor. Poet. Story teller. Father. Friend. Advisor. Colleague. These are words describing former Wilcox staff member and basketball coach Creighton A. Lane.
Humble. Kind. Respectful. Dedicated. All are used multiple times to describe Lane, a beloved security guard and coach at Wilcox High School in Santa Clara for over 25 years.
“I am here to say a few words in celebration of Creighton’s life … though the words heard and said from me could never begin to tell you how truly an honor it is to be here today to honor this remarkable man ,” said Santa Clara Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Stanley Rose. “Dedicating a school gymnasium is an honor that goes to very few people … this is well-deserved,” added Rose.
Wilcox principal Kristin Gonzalez opened the ceremony by saying “we are here at a perfect time as we celebrate things we are thankful for.”
“We are dedicating a gym to the memory of a man that changed the life of many … he spent hours in the halls encouraging students … even when his team won by a landslide, he found room for improvement,” said SCUSD Board president Albert Gonzalez,
adding that Lane was known for buying students meals, offering rides home when needed, but most of all, was humble, kind and always encouraging. “He knew students by not only their name, but by student ID number.”
“Today, we honor a wise man with a will of steel and a heart of gold.”
“Sometimes it seemed like he never left,” said colleague Michelle Hernandez who added Lane was always coaching or mentoring someone. Hernandez read two poems, The Facilitator and Simple written by Lane and published in Maybe or Maybe Not, a Poetic Tease, a book dedicated to Lane’s mother. The book is available at: http://www.lulu.com/shop/creighton-lane/maybe-or-maybe-not-a-poetic-tease/paperback/product-18199809.html
Playing the Game
What would a dedication in Lane’s honor be without some basketball? #BFLA
Following the gym dedication ceremony, a spirited and fun alumni game was played, with unconventional rules. The game featured a running game clock, with four ten-minute quarters, no fouls and one timeout per team, per quarter.
The white team cruised to a commanding 19-5 lead by the end of the first quarter – in the game that took a minute and a half for the first points to be scored. The white team extended their lead to 48-25 by the half with the majority of points coming from Nici Gilday, Kyle Johnson and Patrick Galos.
Closing in on the end of three quarters, the white team led by 20, up 63-43. From then on, the black team scored clutch shots by Daryl Burton, though three-pointers mysteriously began counting for double, with the black team steadily decreasing the margin, pulling within seven points, trailing 75-68 with four minutes remaining. Burton made two three-pointers, bringing the black team within one, trailing 75-74, with another basket giving the black team their first lead, 76-75 with one minute left. Team white took a timeout with 29.9 seconds remaining and held on to the 77-76 triumph.
Moments after the final clock expired, all players met at center court for an emotional and loud “Creighton” in unison in a huddle, showing the spirit, camaraderie and sportsmanship preached by Lane.
Among the alumni participating in the alumni vs. alumni game included Wilcox players from the 80s, 90s, 2000s and 2010s, as well as players who played for Lane at other schools and travel leagues: Sam Angervil (c/o 2001); Daryl Burton (c/o 2003); Ruben Camacho (c/o 1985); Edin Candic (c/o 2016); Patrick Galos (c/o 2001); Nikki Gilday (Presentation c/o 2011); Kyle Johnson (c/o 2010); Jarred Lucas (c/o 2010); Chrissy Montez (c/o 2009); Jeff Muralt (longtime Wilcox coach); Aly Murakami (Presentation c/o 2012); John Sladky (c/o 1983); Marcus Romo (c/o 2009); Derisa Taleni (c/o 2006) and Nadia Williams (c/o 2009).
Game referee was Wilcox boys basketball varsity coach Rob Toloy. Manning the game clock was Wilcox junior varsity coach Dustin Lei. Wilcox Athletic Director Woody Freitas was emcee and commentator of the game.
Memory of an Icon at Wilcox
Lane coached the Wilcox boys basketball team for 15 seasons, claiming a league title in 2001. Lane later took the helm of the Lady Chargers squad leading that team to a CCS title in 2008. Lane took over the girls program in 2004, and guided them to a CCS championship game – one year after the team won only five games. Lane was named the San Jose Mercury News’ girls basketball coach of the year that season.
Lane was also a coach for several traveling basketball teams such as the Bay Area Ballers of Metro San Jose Basketball and the San Jose Ninja Youth Foundation basketball program (which graciously donated $500 toward the gym dedication) and coached in various capacities at Presentation High in San Jose and Saint Lawrence in Santa Clara.
According to his peers and colleagues, Lane’s philosophy reached beyond winning basketball games, as he helped develop young men and women into great individuals, using basketball as a metaphor for life. When he wasn’t coaching or roaming the halls at Wilcox, Lane spent much time writing poetry – a sample of Lane’s poetry, a poem dedicated to the class of 2011, can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7o-lg08q6w.
According to past media articles and Wilcox staff, Lane took on a gamut of responsibilities on campus – washing uniforms, taking his teams out for movie nights, studying film, mentoring on and off-the-court and even renting a limo for the game at cross-town rival, the Santa Clara Bruins.
Lane was awarded the SCUSD Classified Employee of the Year award in 2001.
Lane did after a battle with stomach cancer on Feb. 25, 2014 at 56-years-old. The SCUSD Board voted unanimously in approving the dedication of the Wilcox gym in Lane’s honor on Sept. 10, 2015.
Lane’s daughter Jessika, son-in-law James Cuevas and friend Erroll Williams decided to keep the spirit of giving alive in Lane’s honor, establishing the Creighton Lane Pay It 4ward Foundation. Visit http://www.creightonlanefoundation.com or https://www.facebook.com/Creighton-Lane-Pay-It-4ward-Foundation-805594319481594/ for more information.
Editor’s note: A very similar article and some of these photos were also published at www.prep2prep.com