The road to 600

Feb. 21, 2013 @ 06:30 AM

In his 30th year of coaching boys’ high school basketball, West Caldwell head coach Danny Anderson has eclipsed the milestone of 600 wins.

“It’s not something you start thinking about,” Anderson said. “I was lucky to have great, great coaches in high school and college. When they (coaches) have an impact on you, you want to do the same for someone else.”

Anderson earned his 600th win when the Warriors claimed a 58-34 victory over Draughn in the first round of the Catawba Valley 2A Athletic Conference (CVAC) tournament on Monday. West had already earned a state playoff bid by finishing third in the CVAC standings. The 2012-13 season is Anderson’s 20th with the program, and this will be his 20th playoff appearance. In fact, Anderson’s teams have qualified for the playoffs in all 30 years of his coaching tenure.

“I have been blessed to do something that I love to do for my career,” Anderson said. “I do it for the camaraderie with the coaches and the players. If you do it for yourself, you’re in it for the wrong reasons. You do it to make a difference in other’s lives. You do it because you love the kids.”

Prior to coaching at West Caldwell, Anderson coached for three years at Madison-Mayodan High School, from 1982-85. He finished with an overall record of 37-32. He then coached for seven years at Starmount High School, where he finished with a record of 114-58.

“Coach A” arrived at West Caldwell for the 1992-93 season. He left after the conclusion of the 2010-11 season. Through those 19 seasons with the Warriors, Anderson earned a record of 431-108.

“I’m at work from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.,” Anderson said. “When you do that for so many years, it becomes mentally tiring. At some point, you need to step away and re-charge your batteries.”

Anderson also said that when he was leaving, he knew he would return if the opportunity presented itself. That opportunity came less than one year later. Anderson returned for the 2012-13 season and picked up a 56-52 win over South Caldwell in the team’s first game of the season.

Anderson is currently in his 20th season with the Warriors. In his tenure at West, Anderson has accumulated 449 wins and just 113 losses. That’s a winning percentage of .798. In his 30 years combined, he has a career record of 600-203.

“I have very high expectations of the program and myself,” said Anderson. “If you set the bar high, the kids will most likely rise to the occasion.”

Following his departure from West, Anderson was inducted into the Caldwell County Sports Hall of Fame. Prior to this season, he made 29 playoff appearances, 12 regional appearances and three state finals appearances. Anderson hopes to add to his resume, starting with a CVAC semifinal game against Newton-Conover tonight at 8 at Catawba Valley Community College.

West Caldwell has already played Newton twice this year, both games resulting in losses for the Warriors. Anderson hopes the third time will be the charm.

“I thought we played hard, but not necessarily smart,” Anderson said. “You can’t make bad decisions. There’s a limit on how many bad decisions you can make in a game. Once you exceed that limit, they come back to bite you.”

West Caldwell is 18-5 overall and finished third in the CVAC standings in the regular standings.

“They know I’m disappointed with a record of 18-5 because we believe we should be better,” Anderson said. “I accept full responsibility for that. It starts at the top. Somewhere along the line, I didn’t push the right buttons.”

The Warriors hope to redeem themselves by earning a trip to the CVAC tournament finals on Friday. If they are able to defeat Newton, they play the winner of East Burke and South Iredell.