TOP PHOTO: Mike Malicote, Jerry Dagley and Gary Gray are pictured here left to right at Gray’s retirement gathering in August 2020. Malicote was one of Gray’s teammates while Dagley was their coach.

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Coach Jerry Dagley, who had a great compassion for his players, died last week. However, he lives on through those, and there were many, he touched along the way, especially a bunch of Baby Boomer basketball players.

“One player I remember, who wasn’t going to win you any championships, was on the team. He had a tough home life, and Coach was well aware of his situation. Coach tutored him in math and encouraged him doing everything he could to keep him in school. He was determined for this player to have a chance at life,” said Gary Gray, who played for Coach Dagley. “That player went on to have a successful life when most coaches would’a kicked him off the team,” said Gray.

As Gray thought what Dagley meant to him, he realized that the coach taught the 6-6 post player how to rebound, spread eagle, hold on to the ball and make a good outlet pass. “Coach Dagley was a great rebounder in high school and college,” said Gray.

Gary Gray broke La Follette’s single-game scoring and rebounding record on the same night, February 5, 1971, against Coalfield at LHS. Former Owl Jimmy Davis was Coalfield’s head coach.

Gray remembers when Dagley was the B-Team coach (JV now days). There’s no doubt he had the best ever B-Team record at La Follette High, 25 & 2, according to Gray.

Dagley helped Gray improve his game by sending him to the basketball camps held each summer at Carson-Newman College. “He told my dad that I would really benefit from camp, and I did,” added Gray.

Jerry Dagley (right) at a 2020 gathering for Gary Gray (blue shirt).

In the classroom, Dagley helped Gray there, too. “I was a finance major in college, and all the Algebra I and II classes, Calculus and such Coach taught really prepared me for college,” said Gray.

Coach was a strong Christian. He simply led by example. “He taught me how to be a Christian,” said Gray. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 07/24/2023-6AM)