COLLEGE PARK -- With four minutes left in Saturday's Class 3A state title game, the City boys basketball team was beating Westlake by two points with its perfect season on the line.
Coming out of a timeout, coach Daryl Wade sent out a small lineup, spread the floor and told his group to be patient. Mostly swinging the ball around the perimeter, the Knights' next two possessions ate up a good chunk of the remaining clock before senior guard Kamau Stokes found an easy path to the basket for two more points with 1:41 to play. City went on to claim a 59-48 win, the state crown and a 27-0 season.
It was the same strategy that Wade's father — Bob Wade, the legendary Dunbar coach, who was savoring the moment at Comcast Center — said he would have used.
With Saturday's victory, Daryl Wade joined an elite group of coaches in the state who have completed undefeated seasons. His father produced four perfect seasons in his 11 years at Dunbar, most notably in 1982-83, when the Poets went 31-0 and were recognized as the country's No. 1 team. Daryl was a reserve on Bob's 1984-85 Dunbar team that finished 29-1 and was also recognized as the top team in the nation.
Shortly after receiving the state championship plaque on Saturday, Daryl Wade turned around to find his father behind him on the court. The men embraced, and Bob Wade delivered simple, but powerful words: "I'm proud of you son."
As hard as he tried, Daryl Wade couldn't fight back the tears.
"My father is my idol. Most young men don't have a father to idolize," said Daryl, 46, who coached at City for five seasons beginning in 1995 and then returned in 2012. "I got into this because of what I saw him do as a coach."
One of the things he saw was how his father cared about his players and helped develop them into young men.
And while the younger Wade said finishing a season undefeated was a great accomplishment, that isn't why he's in coaching. The three players sitting next to him during the news conference following Saturday's victory — Stokes, Timmy Bond and Omari George — were examples of why he took the job.
"To join a legacy of undefeated [coaches] and all that — that's fine," Daryl Wade said. "But to see these three go off to school and call me later and say 'Coach I miss you,' that means more to me than anything. That's bigger to me than any of this."
Getting a chance to watch a number of City games this season, including the Knights' win over Patterson for the Baltimore City championship, Bob Wade has been impressed with his son's work.
"I think he's doing an outstanding job of keeping their heads in the game," Bob Wade, the coordinator of athletics for Baltimore City public schools, said prior to the state tournament. "What he's doing offensively is bringing out each of the kids talents. They're able to shine and they aren't dependent on one individual to carry them night in and night out. ... If he asks for my input, I'll give it to him. But I don't try to impose upon him because that's his team and his program. He's not Bob Wade — he's Daryl Wade with his own identity, and he's doing a great job."
During Bob Wade's time at Dunbar, the Poets were competing in Maryland Scholastic Association and captured nine titles. So while Daryl still has some significant work to do to catch up to his father's four undefeated seasons, he was quick to point one thing out after Saturday's win:
"I have something my father doesn't," Daryl said. "He doesn't have a state championship."
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