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Coach's Corner: Dick Kuchen

By Alison Morris


With 19 years of coaching under his belt, men's basketball head coach Dick Kuchen is undoubtedly one of the masters of college basketball. Throughout his 13 years at Yale, Kuchen has fostered outstanding defensive skills among his players. Under his direction, the Bulldogs were ranked among the top 10 defensive teams in the nation four times and were twice ranked in the top 15 in the nation in field goal percentage defense in the '90s. Kuchen is currently the second winningest coach in Eli basketball history, with 147 victories.

After nearly 20 years of producing competitive basketball programs, what is it that drives Kuchen to come back and start anew every year? "I think everyone who enjoys what they do has a passion for it," he explained. "Also, the enthusiasm of the players is contagious. If you have a passion for your job and good guys on the team, you're motivated from year to year."

In a sport where many coaches are just concerned with the number of victories in the record book, Kuchen truly cares about his players' experiences as members of the basketball team. "I've had a lot of memorable experiences," Kuchen reminisced. "After 13 years, you can look back with a lot of pride. But what I'm most proud of is the overall experiences of my players." In fact, Kuchen is so enthusiastic about his players' successes that each year at recruiting time, he hands out a booklet, "Passing to Success," which highlights the illustrious achievements of former Yale players.

Kuchen also elaborated on his coaching philosophy. "We don't talk about wins and losses, but about achieving individual goals, whether that's good de-fense or high field goal percentage," he said. "If we achieve these goals then we're on the right side of the ledger."

When he's not on the court working with his players to improve their game, Kuchen is likely to be found working with the Farnam House, a community house in Fair Haven that gives local children a place to go for food, to meet other kids their age, and to participate in athletics and other activities. "It gives kids in the area a place to go and gives them athletic opportunities," Kuchen explained. "Our team holds clinics there and tutors the kids academically. It's been beneficial for us as a team to get involved with Farnam House." Later this year, Farnam House will honor Kuchen for his service to the community.

Through his dedication to both the Elm City and his players, Kuchen proves that coaching basketball isn't all about winning--it's about the experience of playing, and most of all, the passion it takes to succeed year after year.

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