New tournament name pays tribute to Brookfield basketball coach
Dick Cobb inspired players, coaches alike
Emma Brauer remembers Dick Cobb as an enthusiastic coach who inspired his players not to get down in the face of adversity. Brauer, who currently stars on the Brookfield Central varsity basketball team, took Cobb's lessons to heart.
"He was always helpful," she said. "I really liked his enthusiasm."
Cobb coached players from 1998 until he died of cancer in early October. His spirited personality will be memorialized during the Dec. 8-9 annual basketball tournament hosted by the Brookfield Central Junior Lancers Basketball Club.
Club Director Steve Rossman wants the event to be a fitting tribute to the man who helped start the club and whose passion for basketball inspired players and helped fellow coaches do the same.
Rossman said that sometime between games from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday the club will present a framed coach's shirt to Cobb's family - wife Carol, son Brad and daughters Cassie and Lizzy - and announce the renaming of the event as the Dick Cobb Memorial Winter Hoops Tournament.
"Dick was a giving person," Rossman said. "He was always looking to help and offer assistance and not looking for anything else. He put the kids and the club in front of himself.
"This was a man going through a lot including radiation and chemo and God knows what personal thoughts he had," he continued. "Still he was able to give back through much of that."
Carol Cobb said her husband was passionate about basketball from the time she met him.
"This is obviously a great honor for Dick and our family," she said. "He loved playing basketball and he always loved coaching. Once he was through playing, he turned his attention to helping kids."
Carol said Dick coached youth ball even before the 1998 Lancers club formation. She said he left behind a virtual library of basketball knowledge that she would be glad to pass along.
"I know that basketball will continue to be a big part of my life," she said.
Cobb was born in Sacramento, California and grew up in Wauwatosa, where he attended Christ King Elementary and graduated from Tosa West. After attending UW-Parkside and playing golf his freshman year, he transferred to Madison, where he earned a civil engineering degree. He earned an MBA at Marquette and set off on a career that included involvement in two companies associated with engineering and commercial construction.
Ever the coach and role model, Cobb wrote a letter to his last youth basketball team that included thoughts extending beyond the court. Reminding them that each player helps make everyone else on the team a better athlete, Cobb wrote, "A player never loses but only runs out of time."
He also reminded them that "your parents are the real coaches and life is the game."
His last paragraph:
"One person, one idea, one movement can turn a team away from a losing season. It is not a question as to whether we make a difference, for we all make a difference, each of us in or own way. It is the difference we make that is important. The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of knowledge, not a lack of talent, but rather a lack of will. You can do anything you put your mind to - anything at all. That I promise."
WHAT: Dick Cobb Memorial Winter Hoops Tournament
WHEN: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 8; 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 9
WHERE: Brookfield Central High School, 16900 Gebhardt Road
COST: Adults $4; $2 for students
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