Posted on March 24, 2015 by Taylor Rhea
For a few weeks every March, everyone is a basketball fan. But for resident Domenic “Dom” R. of Atria Bay Spring Village in Rhode Island, the game has been a lifelong passion.
It began when he played forward for Bristol High School (now Mt. Hope High School), class of 1947. Although he put aside the game for a while to concentrate on his studies at Providence College, Dom soon found himself back on the court – this time with a clipboard in hand as assistant basketball coach and English teacher at his old high school. He was promoted to head coach in 1958.
Over his 52-year career, Dom led his teams to more than 500 wins and six state championships. In addition to coaching, Dom put his eye for talent to work as an East Coast scout for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1969-72 – an opportunity that came about through his connection with Lakers head coach Joe Mullaney, a former coach at Providence.
What kept him committed to coaching for so long? “The most rewarding thing about coaching is getting to know your players,” Dom explained, “and seeing their enthusiasm for the game.” He was inducted into the Rhode Island Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007.
Today at 85, he remains involved in the sport – as a fan, attending games at his high school and college alma maters as well as the University of Rhode Island, his favorite team. But a coach never really stops coaching – and Dom continues to share the wisdom and insight he’s gained from his long and successful career. “If you love what you do – for me, it was coaching basketball – then it’s not a job.”