BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Eric Chambers is stepping down as assistant coach with Clarkston Boys Varsity Basketball after 24 years.
He explained there were a lot of reasons to retire.
“My loyalty to Coach Dan Fife is the biggest reason,” he added. “In 1998, after we lost in the quarterfinals to Detroit Central and Antonio Gates, I told him that one day we would win a state championship, and I would coach with him for as long as it took. Coach Fife’s impact on me is irreplaceable. Other than my parents, he is one of the most influential people in my life. He took a chance on me and I am thankful for the opportunity. I cannot see myself sitting on the bench without him. Retiring was not an easy decision but it is the right time, and going out on top is the best way to go.”
He will miss a lot about coaching for Clarkston starting with the lifelong relationships he has developed with the players, coaches and fans.
“The phone calls after tough losses and the congratulatory calls/texts after the last two state championships meant a lot to me,” Chambers said. “Also, I will miss practice and the unique bond each team forms. The opportunity to work with Coach Fife, the car rides to games with Jake Wilton and players, and waving to my parents after every game will also be missed.”
He added his parents are very dedicated Wolves fans and only missed two games since 1994.
Reflecting back on the last 24 years, Chamber said there are too many favorite memories to name, but of course the last two seasons will always stay with him.
“Obviously the last two years will be unforgettable, but all the teams prior to the state championship own a piece of those rings,” he said. “They built the program to what it is and paved the way to the Breslin Center. The years of season ending heartbreaks drove us to play harder, play smarter. Also, having the opportunity to be involved in young people’s lives has been an incredible experience.”
Chambers moved to Clarkston in 1984 and soon began to attend games in 1985. He explained during his high school years he stayed after school to tutor underclassmen.
Then, would watch basketball practice because one of his friends was on the team.
“I immediately admired Coach Fife’s leadership style and knew at some point I would like to coach,” he said. ” After college, I student taught in Clarkston and wanted to be involved in the community. Prior to student teaching, I met Coach Fife at a middle school track meet and asked if I could attend summer practices and help out in some capacity. We met the next day, he asked me some questions and then said ‘be in the gym next week.'”
Chambers added from that point forward he never left the gym.
“After the first summer practices, Jeremy Fife told me his goal was to play college basketball,” Chambers said. “We developed a plan, and his work ethic and self-expectations set my own framework for the next 24 years of my coaching. I quickly learned all great players share one common theme – the willingness to outwork their own expectations.”
Chamber’s plan right now for retirement is to continue to enjoy life.
“I look forward to spending more time with my family,” he shared. “My wife is amazing and I have three beautiful step-daughters. I plan on attending as many college and high school games as I can. My family and parents are looking forward to attending a lot of Michigan State University games and Maui in 2019. At some point I will get back into basketball/coaching, hopefully with the other coach Fife.”