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Interview with Calvin Lane, February 6, 2003 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Calvin Lane, February 6, 2003
February 6, 2003
In this two-tape interview, Calvin Lane discusses his background and career. Mr. Lane came to work at UNCW in 1969 and retired in 1990 from his faculty position, and in 1999 from his coaching position. He worked first as Financial Aid Director for 1 1/2 years, and then as a faculty member in the Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER). He also was a coach. He served as men's tennis coach for one year, men's soccer coach for 15 years, and men's golf coach for 15 years. In the interview, he discusses building the soccer and golf programs, and the growth and development of athletics in general at UNCW. He led soccer to a spot in the national top-20, often competing against teams with more resources. He also discusses his philosophy of coaching, why coaching is important, and the classes he taught in physical education. He concludes by mentioning some of his interests and hobbies in retirement, which include playing golf as a professional.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Lane, Calvin Interviewer: Lack, Adina Date of Interview: 2/6/2003 Series: Voices of UNCW Length: 120 minutes

Lack: Good morning. Today is Thursday, February 6, 2003. My name is Adina Lack. I’m the archivist and special collections librarian and I’d like our interviewee to state his name for the tape.

Lane: My name is Calvin Lane.

Lack: Dr. Lane will be telling us about your experiences at UNCW. Please can you tell us where you were born and where you grew up?

Lane: I was born in Denton, Maryland which is in Carolina County on the eastern shore of Maryland, _________ Peninsula.

Lack: Is that where you grew up?

Lane: I grew up, I graduated from Carolina High School in 1951 and matriculated to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in the fall of ’51. I went on to graduate school and graduated in 1957 from graduate school. I started teaching at New Hanover High School in 1956 and went back the following summer in ’57 and finished up my Master’s degree.

Lack: And that was all at Chapel Hill?

Lane: That was at Chapel Hill.

Lack: How did you come to Chapel Hill from Maryland?

Lane: I went on a baseball scholarship primarily. I ended up playing baseball for two years. I hurt my shoulder and quit and I played soccer for four years. My background had been primarily in soccer, basketball and baseball in high school. We didn't play football in the area I came from.

Lack: How did you get interested in soccer? You don’t imagine that as a big sport.

Lane: Well it was a big sport in the small area. Each of our schools where I grew up, the small areas were mainly agricultural. There weren’t many large schools. They were all small schools and just everybody in that particular area played soccer. They didn't play a lot of football in the area I came from. Some of the larger schools in the communities did, but not many.

Lack: I wonder how that got started. Soccer is not as expensive a sport, is it?

Lane: Definitely not as expensive. Of course you still need 11 players, but there aren’t as many injuries. You don’t need as many people in total numbers as you do in football. So that’s how I got started in soccer. I enjoyed it and kept on in college. I did a little baseball also and that was the extent of my athletics participation in college.

Lack: I guess they weren’t recruiting for soccer as much.

Lane: No, back then there was not a great deal of recruiting for soccer. There weren’t scholarships for soccer.

Lack: They recruited for baseball.

Lane: They did for baseball, yes.

Lack: How did you like Chapel Hill?

Lane: I loved it. I met my wife there. She was there for two years. Freshmen could not go to Carolina unless they were either in nursing or some other reason. I think nursing students could go as freshmen or as a transfer student. She went to St. Mary’s and then went to Chapel Hill for her junior and senior year.

Lack: So freshman women couldn’t go at that time.

Lane: I think only in nursing if I remember correctly. I enjoyed my years at Carolina very much, but I also went to class, played ball, I worked and so I was really kind of happy to get out to tell you the truth because it was a full schedule the years I was there.

Lack: What did you major in?

Lane: I majored in physical education and a minor in education and my graduate work was in education.

Lack: Before your Master’s degree, you said you came to New Hanover County.

Lane: Yes, I started teaching at New Hanover High School in 1956. My wife and I both started teaching here. I coached all the junior varsity sports, football, basketball and baseball and I taught.

Lack: Were you aware of Wilmington College at that time since it was downtown?

Lane: I really wasn’t that much aware of it at the time even though the campus was in the Isaac Bear Building right across the street. I really didn't have knowledge of it until I got here. I probably came to coach at New Hanover with Leon Brogden. When he gave me the opportunity to come, I came.

Lack: Had you heard about the baseball team and Bill Brooks?

Lane: No really, no, but I got to meet Bill as soon as I got here. We became very good friends. I did coach with him some because he was coaching also at New Hanover at the time as well as working at Wilmington College.

Lack: He is one that we interviewed. I didn't interview him myself. My predecessor did. He was definitely a good person to talk to about history.

Lane: Yes, he’s been through all of it.

Lack: Is he the one that invited you to come?

Lane: When I came I taught at New Hanover and coached for four years and then I got into administration and was a principal for eight years. Then I really wanted to get back into teaching and coaching. Dr. William Wagoner, whom I knew, left as superintendent of schools and came out here. I had some conversations with him and I came out here if I’m not mistaken in October of 1968 as finance lay director. I worked in that for a year and a half and then I talked to Bill Brooks because I really wanted to get back to teaching and coaching. I think it was in the spring semester of 1970 that I transferred over to the physical education department.

Lack: And you’re able to use that background. That’s interesting. You just missed…you wanted to get away from administration?

Lane: I was not particularly…there are several things about administration. I was not an office person. I did not like to be confined to an office space too much. I think the biggest thing in administration, you were responsible for so many people’s actions other than your own. It seems like you’re constantly soothing problems and soothing egos. There’s just a lot of things in administration that I didn't particularly care for.

Lack: So you came around 1970 and started teaching in the physical education department.

Lane: I started teaching physical education in 1970. I coached tennis the spring of 1970.

Lack: Do you play tennis?

Lane: I played tennis. I played some just for recreation in high school and in college, but that was not my love. I really had a love for soccer. I really enjoyed it very much so I was very happy when I got the opportunity to take over the soccer team in 1971. When I went into the physical education department, Bill Brooks was the athletic director and the head of the education department which he held for many years.

Also when I went into the physical education department, you not only taught but you coached. As opposed to present day, I think most of the coaches today are just coaches. I think that’s for a couple of reasons. One is that we now have a bigger budget and a lot more money and they can afford to just have people to coach. In the past you were paid with state funds and we just didn't have the money in athletics because we couldn’t use tax funds to pay people. If you taught, you coached.

They told me one time, I can’t remember the exact words, but I coached because I wanted to. I got paid for teaching and coaching was because I wanted to. But the coaching, believe me, took a lot of time.

Lack: I was going to say, did you teach the same number of course?

Lane: Yes.

Lack: And you coached and got paid a little for it?

Lane: You did not get paid for coaching at all until I think it was almost when Dr. Charles Lewis came into the department. I can’t remember what year it was.

Lack: I interviewed him too.

Lane: Then the only thing I remember about coaching and salary was they gave me, they appointed 25% of my salary for coaching, but they took away 25% of my state salary. So I didn't get a salary increase. They just gave me coaching money to make up for the difference. So I really didn't get a pay increase, but I did get credit for coaching in a sense. They also gave me a break on my teaching schedule.

They reduced it by about a fourth if I remember correctly. But I was still teaching a lot of contact hours although there were not many semester hours. The contact hours were quite a bit. They kept me very busy because even in one hour classes or two hour classes, you’re meeting three days a week for an hour. So contact hours, there’s still a lot of time involved.

Lack: Sure, it sounds like it.

Lane: Well in coaching I used to get here at about 7:30 in the morning and you just didn't go for lunch. You grabbed a sandwich at your desk and then I’d probably get home about 7:00 in the evening. That was during season on an average day.

Lack: Well talk about the soccer program because it sounds like you really got it when it was just very young. You said that somebody else had been coach but…

Lane: Charlie Sprowles I think started soccer, but I can’t remember the year he started it, maybe ’65, I’m not sure. He had it for three or four years and then Larry Honeycutt had it in 1970. I don’t think there was any intent at that time to do more than make it just an extension of an intramural type program, a club type thing where the students on campus just participated if they wanted to.

I took it over in ’71 and it followed the same course really and ’72 because they didn't have any money to recruit. Then in ’73, I just had a great desire to have a better soccer program. I really wanted to get better athletes and enjoy playing other teams, a better caliber. So I got two partial scholarships in ’73. I went to the state of Maryland and recruited four people off the state high school team that won their state championship in Maryland.

I gave two scholarships and two other players came because they were good friends so that started it. Then the years after I was able to pick up another one or two. By the late 70’s we had a very good soccer team.

Lack: That’s incredible. I guess with your success, your department, the athletics department was giving to you more…I mean you probably had to ask for it.

Lane: I never got a lot of money. We had a little bit of money, but I just recruited very hard. Fortunately there was not a great amount of soccer…there were not a lot of soccer scholarships around at that time. Most of the bigger schools we played had more money than we had. Still even that was not a lot of money.

I think as I said earlier when we were talking before the interview, we went from 1971 and 1972, we were just like an extension of an intramural program to 1980, we accomplished the feat of being ranked number 20th in the nation. In the late 70’s, we were always running in the top 10 in the south.

Then after 1980, we still had a good team, but then there was more money becoming available for soccer scholarships, ACC jumped into it big time and it was a little bit harder to get good players because everybody was giving scholarships and we were very limited. We stayed a competitive team, but we just couldn’t attract the quality of players I had gotten before.

I wouldn’t say I was unhappy, but I had worked really hard for 15 years. I really wanted to maintain the program to the level I was accustomed to and we couldn’t do it really. In fact after 1980, local sportsmen club in town, we got Kyle Rote Jr. to come in and speak at our end of the year banquet and I had invited a lot of outstanding soccer players to the banquet to recruit. We had probably 8 or 10 coming up and unfortunately I didn't have enough money but to offer one of them a partial scholarship.

That really hurt because the next year we lined up against a lot of these players. Two of them went to the University of Virginia who then went on to win two straight NCAA championships and went to some very good programs. Soccer, although my last year I think, I’m not sure how many losing seasons I had, I think maybe only one in 1984 when I lost four good players I thought I had coming back but for injuries. One decided not to come back and one of them academically couldn’t come back.

So I lost four very good players and didn't really have an opportunity to make up for that so we didn't do well in 1984, but we bounced back in 1985 and had a good year. So then there was a need for a golf coach and I had not had an assistant until my last year, I think it was maybe ’84, the last two years. I had a graduate assistant, Jackie Blackmore who had played for me in ’71.

Jack came back and got his Master’s degree, assisted me in soccer. Then in ’85 I agreed to take soccer and golf with the understanding that I would phase out and just have golf after that.

Lack: And your assistant would take over soccer.

Lane: And Jackie took over the soccer program in ’86. So ’85 I did soccer in the fall and golf in the spring. Then I stayed with golf until 1999. I retired from teaching in 1990, but kept golf on a part-time basis in ’99. After I started the soccer program, I sort of had the feeling I didn't know whether I’d ever go through anything that hard again, starting a program from scratch.

But although we’d had golf for a few years and had some really good golfers, we were really not in a very good position when I took over the golf team. So you have us back at square one again, trying to get a competitive team with very little money. Fortunately in two or three years we were able to build a pretty good solid base of golfers. The last few years I had a very good golf team. We got ranked in the top 80 some in the country and I’ve had a few men go into the Canadian tour.

Although there again, we didn't have a lot of money to work with at the time, but we did finish second in the conference I think four years in a row, the last four years. So I was very pleased with that and very proud of the accomplishments we made. Then in 1999, I retired and have just been a very active member of the Seahawk Club and very interested in the total program, not only athletics but the total education system at UNCW since then.

I’ve been very proud, it’s just amazing as I look back over the years, the growth this university has had.

Lack: We’re indebted to the people who stuck with it such as yourself during the tough times.

Lane: There were some great planning years, some great people who took over and had the foresight to start this. I just can’t imagine, when I came here I’m not sure how many students we had, but maybe 1800 probably at that particular time. I think when I came here New Hanover High School had more students than we did at the time.

Lack: When you came, it had just become a university.

Lane: Yes, it had. So that’s about it.

Lack: Did you have some recruiting money in golf? Did you get more throughout the years?

Lane: Yes, I think the total I had when I finally ended was around $17,000 to $20,000 and I think the most I ever had in soccer at the end was around $17,000. I’m a little hazy on that, but I think those figures are close. I have no idea what they have now, what the total budget is. I know we were playing teams in soccer for example when I was there that were fully funded. They had more money in their traveling budget than I had in my total budget.

You have to remember we were playing schools a little bit ahead of our time. We played mostly all the ACC schools in the late 70’s and in the 80’s. We played South Carolina also. We played Virginia, North Carolina State, Wake Forest. In the late 1970’s, we also played the defending national champion here on our campus, Alabama A&M. We gave them a very good game. I think it was 3 to 1, they beat us, but it was a very good game.

We entertained the number one ranking team in the country here, that was Duke in the late 70’s. I think probably one of the biggest wins we had here in soccer was in 1980. We had beaten most of the schools in the ACC that we played. I think we lost to Carolina 2 to 1, but we beat State and some of the others and we went to Duke the last game of the season. They were the ACC champion that year and we beat them 1 to nothing. We were disappointed we didn't get the NCAA bid. But we had a great year 14-2 and it was a wonderful year.

Lack: I just have to say, I don’t think there’s any problem with your memory. The athletic stats come back to you. This is great information.

Lane: But the nice thing about not only coaching, but teaching which I’ll talk a little more about later is the only thing that I miss is contact with the people, not only the faculty, but I really miss the contact with the students. It’s something that keeps you young. It keeps you alive. I still have a lot of my ex-players, I think all coaches do, you stay in constant contact with them.

A lot of them still live in the area that I recruited who now live here. Now they live here. Their parents who watched them play retired and they moved here. So we have a big contingent of soccer players primarily and their parents are here now.

Lack: It seems like this area would lend itself to soccer, the climate.

Lane: Oh yes, it was a great recruiting tool. People loved to come to Wilmington. The beach was a big draw, the climate was nice. Besides the school, when I started I would say it was small, but then it got to be a medium size school, but not a large school. So people felt at home. They knew most of the students and faculty. It was a real pleasant place to be involved in.

As far as my teaching, like I said Bill Brooks was the head of the department when I came in. At that time if you were a major in physical education, you got a teaching certification in the health and physical education. That has now been phased out I’m sure. You have to have, you get a degree in physical education and I think you have to do something extra now for health certification.

Dr. David Miller who is now in active administration is probably in phase retirement now, he was the next department head. Then Charles Lewis came in and then I think my last year a lady took over the program and I can’t remember her name right now, but I’ll think of it later. That was 1999. I think I taught and coached for about 43-44 years.

Lack: Did you do phase retirement?

Lane: No, I just quit. Then I did continue with golf for nine more years through 1999.

Lack: What did you teach in the department? Did that change throughout the time?

Lane: I taught some health classes. I taught the 101 which was a requirement for physical education just about the whole time I was there. I taught skill activities like soccer methods class, golf methods. Then I was also in charge of student teachers for many, many years with the education department. That was channeled through the education department.

Lack: For physical education?

Lane: Yes, for physical education student teachers. That was in elementary, they got the dual certification, elementary and high school so they split their time in elementary and secondary. So I taught all those things. You know you teach a variety of things. You go through whatever needs to be done. I taught principles of physical education, just various things.

I think the hardest thing to do when I was coaching was the amount of time during those years because you had a full load of teaching plus the coaching plus then you had office hours. Plus you had to advise students.

Lack: Plus you have student teachers, did you have to visit the schools?

Lane: Oh yes, you visited schools. So it was a very demanding time. I’m not envious, I just wish in some ways that I was still coaching because I can’t imagine how wonderful it is to be able to just come in your office and plan your practice schedule and do your recruiting chores, answer your mail and not worry about teaching all your classes and doing that also.

That’s why I think…I went through a period when I was coaching soccer, I went through about three straight years, that at the end of the season which is in November that I came down with a…in looking back, it was nothing but stress I think, exhaustion. You know you get on an adrenalin high and you keep going, going, going and I just had to go to bed for about two days for three years in a row after the soccer season was over. I was just exhausted.

So I had to monitor that my doctor told me so I found an hour of time during the day for myself to sit down and then started pacing myself a little bit better. I don’t think I was the only one that had to do that type of thing. I mean that’s just what you did at that particular time. I’m sure there is just as much stress and pressure on coaches today. There was no pressure put on me during the time I was here as in you’re in or you’re out.

There was never anything mentioned like that. The only pressure that was put on me was by myself because I wanted to be successful. I think that just about everybody that coaches wants to be that way. So I think the pressure is put on by yourself.

Lack: That’s an amazing model for the students and the players. How were the players? Were they very dedicated in the early years? When they played teams like Duke or Carolina that had more money…

Lane: A lot of the players I had were playing against friends of theirs on those teams who had been recruited by those schools. So it was very much a situation where they wanted to have bragging rights when they went home in the summer and stuff. It was a big motivational tool for us.

Lack: What about women’s sports during these years? Did a women’s soccer program start while you were here?

Lane: No, not when I was coaching. I don’t remember a women’s soccer team. I think they might have had a club, but they did not have a collegiate program. Then of course with Title IX coming in, women’s athletics exploded.

Lack: That was during your career. Title IX was in the 70’s.

Lane: Yes, it came in. Of course there was more money definitely involved in women’s athletics because it was a matter of they felt like they needed to catch up. I think even today there is still some discrepancies in scholarships. Like I think in men’s golf when I retired, it’s 4-1/2 for men and 6 for ladies. So in some sports there’s more money involved that women can use. I think they needed to catch up a little bit and needed more money.

Lack: What about women’s golf? Was there a team started while you were there?

Lane: There was a women’s golf team when I took over the men’s golf team. They certainly have done very well also throughout the years.

Lack: I know that the NCAA ladies golf tournament was in Wilmington a few years back.

Lane: Yes, they did. Jan Mann who was the women’s golf coach at the time, Lee Dudley I think laid the groundwork. Jan followed up and carried it through and it was quite successful. They had it at Landfall. It was the National NCAA Ladies Tournament.

Lack: We have pictures in the archives from it and some information.

Lane: I considered putting in a bid for the men also one year, but it takes about three or four years to that become a realization because they plan that three or four years in advance. I never followed through and got involved in the final process of applying for it.

Lack: You were mentioning before the interview about the early years. You said your first year, you had some soccer balls.

Lane: Well when I took over the soccer team, I went and looked at my equipment and had six rubber soccer balls. We really didn't have uniforms. I think we had white shorts and we used old baseball jerseys for a couple of years. Then we just sort of went from there, cajoled and begged and prodded Coach Brooks for a little bit more, a little bit more. I’m sure as money became available, he helped us out.

Then we got up to where our equipment was very good. We had a little scholarship money and the players became better. It was a very enjoyable time for me. I felt like it was a time of great personal achievement for me and I was very happy when I got through, that I had put so much of my time and energy into it. I felt very good about it. I think the young men enjoyed it also. They all said they had a wonderful time and it was four of the best years of their lives. That made me feel good.

Lack: You said you were in constant contact with some of these people, you see them regularly.

Lane: Yes I do, good friends. A lot still live in Wilmington. Really at that time a lot of our good players who came along in the late 70’s, New Hanover High School had a soccer team at that time. I recruited three or four players from New Hanover who although they had a limited background, they were very good athletes. They became excellent soccer players when they left here in the late 70’s. I can think of several names. I think maybe the first one or two I recruited were David ________, Vince _____.

They went to Hoggard, but then New Hanover had Eddie Brock, Doug Powell, Dennis Davis and everyone of these young men became very, very good soccer players before they left. In fact they were competing on the ACC level. So I didn't have a lot of money to recruit outside, but we did develop some very good local soccer talent at the time.

Lack: That’s wonderful, that’s a great resource right there, homegrown. You mentioned your wife was a teacher at New Hanover High School.

Lane: Her total teaching experience in Wilmington was at New Hanover High School. She retired also in 1990, she still substitutes.

Lack: In the English department?

Lane: Yes, she taught English.

Lack: So she must have been very supportive of you and your travels and your commitments.

Lane: Yeah, I think one of the biggest problems you have in coaching is that you put a good deal of strain on your wife as far as raising children and taking care of everything at home because there’s a lot of traveling late afternoons and evenings. I think the thing that you probably give up is you give up a lot of time with your children. You miss a lot of their growing up time, but unfortunately that’s something you can’t help.

Lack: Right, right. Did your children become athletic?

Lane: Well my daughter played on the golf team at Hoggard. They won the senior championship her senior year. My son was not an athlete. He played soccer and basketball, but he was not an athlete. He was a music major, but then changed his major later. No, they’re not particularly athletes.

Lack: Your wife?

Lane: My wife is not an athlete.

Lack: But she’s probably learned some about sports over the years.

Lane: Oh yeah and the only game she likes is when Carolina plays. Other than that, she could care less, and when I coached here she enjoyed those games.

Lack: Well what was travel like in those days? It sounds like you probably had to go to some pretty far away places.

Lane: Well when I started we drove vans. We’d use two vans for soccer which I didn't like cause I drove one and then you had to get a student to drive the other. It was always a little scary because even today you hear about teens driving vans and the last few years there’s been several wrecks and people killed, athletes killed in vans. So unfortunately we had to do that, but we didn't have the money to charter buses or to afford to have a bus. So we drove vans.

I’ve driven as much, you play, you get back in the van and I’ve driven as much as 7 or 8 hours to get back home after a match. Fatigue is a bad thing. It’s tough to do that, you know, Tennessee.

Lack: Driving to Chapel Hill was not easy then either on the country roads.

Lane: Later on we were able to purchase a bus. With soccer, we got to take the bus I can’t tell you how much nicer that was. Safety was a big thing. It was so much nicer to have a driver who was rested. You felt like if anything happened, you had a little more security on the bus as far as a wreck or anything like that which fortunately we never had.

So it’s wonderful to be able to relax and so much more comfortable too for the athletes as far as having to prepare to play and then when they’re through being able to ride home. They can study better and there’s just a lot of things they can do.

Lack: How about NCAA regulations? Did that change a lot during the course of your coaching? Did those affect you?

Lane: A lot more regulations came into effect which was primarily to help the athlete. I think UNCW was one of the frontrunners in developing some of the programs that were dictated and requested by NCAA. For example, the tutoring, the study halls, orientation type things for athletes, programs. I think all these things that were instigated were certainly necessary and I think very helpful to the athlete.

I’ll tell you now, when I first started it was just a matter of everything…the student athlete had to schedule his own time more or less on his own. It was pretty much up to him to get his grades, his academics, to do the work and everything. Now I feel like if a student wants to be successful now, all the tools are here provided for him or her.

With the monitoring of your class grades now because before I retired, we all got copies of our student athletes’ grades. Prior to the end of the semester, if there were problems, we were informed of it. We had cards that we sent into the professors and they sent back to us to give us feedback and then they scheduled…if you were having problems in math for example or other areas of courses, they set up special courses for students to go into and they would have tutors to help them as far as individual tutoring.

So all those things now pretty much make it…I think if the student athlete is dedicated and wants to be successful, I think I find it very hard for them not to be successful. We certainly give him every tool available to achieve success.

Lack: Yeah, there’s more support.

Lane: And I’m sure it’s the same thing with academic student support. I’m sure a lot of that is carried over to the general student population.

Lack: I think so. There’s certainly a learning center, tutoring center upstairs.

Lane: Right, I don’t know the exact name, but at the tutoring center, we had the writing center I think for freshmen where you could get assistance for writing term papers.

Lack: You were also a member of the faculty. Did that help because you probably could use some of the professors?

Lane: Oh yes, they were just extended family. I knew all the professors and you knew a lot of students, certainly the ones you taught, but you also knew others you’d meet them, and know them. When we had faculty meetings, we knew the faculty usually by first name. I guess that’s one of the biggest changes from my later years, we got a lot larger and I knew a very small percentage of the faculty which is normal. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, it’s just the way things are because of the increased enrollment, the larger faculty. There’s just not enough time to meet everybody and be sociable.

Lack: So sometimes you did have to talk to the professors about students?

Lane: Well I never involved myself directly with a faculty member unless I was requested to. I didn't like another professor to feel like that I was trying to get them to do something for my student athlete that he wouldn’t do for any student. So normally if a professor contacted me, then I would talk to him.

Or as I said, we sent papers to each faculty member who taught one of our student athletes and they had an opportunity to make comments, put the grades down, absence, problems and things like that. If there was anything on that I needed to follow up on from that then I would. I’m not sure professors would maybe appreciate it if I tried to…you know, as a coach if you tried…it would be too much.

If there was a problem and I knew about it and the professor contacted me, I would certainly try to help. I didn't try to impose my will in any way which I don’t think would have done any good anyhow. I think it would have been wrong to do that.

Lack: Were there some faculty members who were interested in soccer and came to your games?

Lane: Oh yes there were.

Lack: Michael Bradley, do you know him?

Lane: Michael Bradley is a big supporter of all athletics here.

Lack: Right, I interviewed him and he said he would go. He would find out whatever was going on. Did he go with you on some trips?

Lane: I don’t think he went with me on any trips. I think he followed basketball. Dr. Jim Sabella was always out there. He’s been on the athletic counsel for years. I don’t know if he still is or not. Jim was a big supporter. There were others, I just can’t think of the names. The lady who worked in the library, I can’t remember her name. She came to all the games, she was a very active supporter. Of course some of the other coaches who were out of season, they came, Dave Allen, Mark Ellington, the swimming coach.

The department head like Charles Lewis, he was always very active. He came to the games. We did get support from the faculty and it’s amazing, we did have excellent support from the students especially in the late 70’s. We had crowds up there I guess about 1500 people in the late 70’s. We had the bleachers full plus people all around the field. We had some big crowds out there.

I don’t think people realize how good we were in the late 70’s in soccer. People tend to forget because they weren’t here or they weren’t involved. We played with the upper echelon in soccer, collegiate soccer, in the United States at that particular time. We did get good support. It was a lot of fun.

Lack: Did you play with those teams, since I’m not that familiar with athletics, because you had a more advanced soccer program than ECU or other places.

Lane: I just tried to schedule the best teams I could schedule that could fit us on their schedule. I worked very diligently the first two or three years. In fact, for example, Chapel Hill, I went through two or three years of just scrimmaging them preseason. Then we got better. Then I was able to convince them to put us on their schedule.

Then we hosted a Port City classic down here for several years while I was coaching. We had schools like Wake Forest, South Carolina.

Lack: Was that a tournament?

Lane: Yes. I apologize for my voice, it’s cold, its getting me. We had schools like South Carolina, Wake Forest. I’m trying to think who else came, it was several years. We won it every year we hosted it. We had some very good teams here. We really enjoyed it. I think overall the experience that I had in teaching and coaching was very rewarding. It was rewarding personally. Financially I can’t say we made a lot of money at that particular time. I probably would have made more money if I had stayed in administration in the public school system.

Be that as it may, the friends that I made, the contacts with student athletes and students in general was very rewarding. I can certainly say that I had a very happy and hopefully productive life and years in education.

Lack: We’ve had the privilege of interviewing a couple of other people from your department. I interviewed David Miller and Charles Lewis. I tried to get up with David Warner. Do you know him?

Lane: Dave is still around. He lives two blocks from me and he’s doing very well. Dave must be 80 something years old.

Lack: He was interested in interviewing.

Lane: Oh he would be a good interview.

Lack: I offered to go over there. He explained he doesn’t really get out much.

Lane: He can’t drive. His daughter drives him. I drive by to see him occasionally and talk to him, but his mind is still sharp. He gets around okay. He comes to the retirement dinners. We had a retirement dinner not long ago. He was there in December. He was intramural director for years here.

Lack: He was in the PE department.

Lane: Yes he was.

Lack: He filled out a form saying he was interested. He was Director of Intramurals and professor of PE. Well if you see him, tell him how your experience was because he sounded interested. When I offered to come out there, he said that would be fine, but he said he would get back to me. I think he had some things going on. Dave Miller we talked to. How did things change when David Miller came aboard after Bill Brooks had left?

Lane: I don’t think it changed particularly. I think as athletic director and head of the department, it was a lot for Bill Brooks to do. We all wore so many hats at that time. As we got bigger out of necessity, we had to start narrowing things down. You can only do so much. I think David had a lot more time to focus on the physical education department.

Lack: Right, because Bill Brooks remained director of athletics.

Lane: Yes he did. In that respect, I think the only change I can see is that Dave had a lot more time to develop the department and work on the problems we had within the department.

Lack: That’s good.

Lane: But then after that it was just the natural growth of more students coming in. I can truthfully say, not that the students we had when I first came here in the late 60’s and 70’s were not good students, but I can truthfully say through the years as things evolved, that I could see our student body, we started attracting students academically, much better students toward the end of my teaching career. Not that I have anything against the students that came here early.

They were good people, but I think we got to be a little more selective at the end because so many people wanted to come here. We could, so to speak, just select the ones that we wanted which is a good situation to be in, but I also think sometimes you miss a lot of good people that way unfortunately. That’s just the way things are.

Lack: Right, some people who may not have had the best high school grades or something could really flourish in college.

Lane: That happens so many times.

Lack: Right, once they get into a new environment. Any influential people that you knew? This is interesting, you’re one of the first people I’ve talked to, I think the only person I’ve talked to so far who knew Dr. Wagoner before he came here. In fact, he’s the reason why you came here.

Lane: He was the superintendent of schools in New Hanover County. Then when Dr. Randall retired, he came out here as chancellor. Of course I had a personal relationship with him. I just happened to know him and I knew there was a vacancy so I contacted him. One thing led to another and I came out here to work.

Then I know this is a video pertaining to UNCW primarily, but a couple of things that may be important, I’m not sure, was in 1970 when I was working here, I was also president of the local Sportman’s Club. Roman Gabriel and Sonny Jurgeson, two local Wilmington athletes, were elected to the North Carolina Hall of Fame and I was chairman of the committee that brought the banquet here. We had it at the Wilmington Hilton. So that was a big event for Wilmington at that particular time.

Then after that I went on to serve on the North Carolina Board of Directors for the Hall of Fame for three years after that. I think that helped bring a little bit of publicity to Wilmington and also to UNC Wilmington.

Lack: That’s good. That must have taken some time too, planning that.

Lane: Well yes, but I probably received more than I gave. You had to meet candidates like any Hall of Fame thing and try to select who would be good.

Lack: Did you have some players that were selected?

Lane: No, I haven’t had any players who were in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. Coach Brogden who I worked with in the 50’s was elected.

Lack: Was he coach here?

Lane: He was at New Hanover High School for years and years and years. He’s in there and of course Sonny and Roman are in there.

Lack: Where is the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame?

Lane: Well it’s been passed around. They were looking for a home base. It was housed in Raleigh for a while. I don’t know that there is a permanent home for it right now.

Lack: It needs one it sounds like. Did you remain good friends with Dr. Wagoner while you were here?

Lane: Yeah, well we spoke to each other. Yeah, he came to some of the games. He was very much interested in athletics. I can’t say we spent a lot of time together because he had his duties and I had my duties. In fact, I was honored with the Chancellor’s award one year and he presented it to me.

Lack: Oh the Chancellor’s Award for Excellency in Teaching.

Lane: I wouldn’t say teaching, it was just for contribution I think to the university at the time. I’m not sure exactly what it’s for, but I accepted it.

Lack: That’s great and he presented it, that’s great.

Lane: It was very nice. I don’t remember what year it was, in the 70’s I think. Also in 1970-71, there was a gentleman named Alex Whitey who is now deceased who started a new soccer program in Wilmington. I ran it for I don’t know years until the Wilmington Recreational Department decided to take it over. I enrolled students…not students, but players, put them on teams. They were selected for teams by location, the neighborhoods they lived in.

In the fall, during the winter, we tried to schedule our games because we didn't want to at that time go against youth football, youth baseball. So we tried to find a little niche for ourselves where we could get young men and women to participate. So did it in maybe late fall and early spring through the winter. My student athletes who were soccer players would officiate.

We used Empy Park, Legion’s stadium and the field at UNCW and scheduled the games there. I don’t know how many years I did that, maybe six or seven years. Then finally Frank Kelly finally took it over in the Wilmington Recreational Department. I was glad to get out of that responsibility. It was just a lot to do after my season and then take that on too.

Lack: That’s a wonderful service.

Lane: It kept me busy for the weekends for several months there.

Lack: It could pay off long term.

Lane: Well now they have a very great organization. One of my ex-players, Jimmy Braswell is now one of the leaders in the youth soccer program in Wilmington.

Lack: I would think now it’s just huge.

Lane: It is huge and they’re looking to build a new soccer complex now with about I think 15 or 16 playing fields.

Lack: So do you get out and get to various games including UNCW?

Lane: I try to go to UNCW. I’ve seen some of the youth soccer games, yes. I was fortunate to be on the selection committee for a soccer coach to be hired and he’s done an excellent job. Also I just read in the paper, I just found out that our golf coach is leaving to go to Memphis and they asked me to serve on the selection committee for the new golf coach which I will probably do too. So probably in the next few months, we will be making a decision on that.

We’re getting some good young coaches in now. The problem is that if they’re really good and successful, we have a chance of losing them. But you don’t mind that as long as they come in and do a good job and are successful. It helps everybody. People just don’t seem to stay around as much as years ago that we used…you know I just came and stayed. Bill Brooks came here and stayed. Of course Dave Miller. Seems like now coaching is more of a transient thing where if you’re successful, you just move on. I guess because there’s more money involved now.

Lack: Right, more money elsewhere. Do you watch men’s basketball?

Lane: Oh yeah, love it. It’s just been outstanding what they’ve done the last few years here. Of course we had a very good basketball program. I don’t know if people remember that, but in the late 70’s the same time our soccer was really getting good, Coach Gibson had an outstanding basketball team here too. They were very good. You need to talk to him.

Lack: How’s he doing?

Lane: I haven’t seen him in several years, but he was doing great the last time I saw him. But I think you would enjoy talking to him. They were very good and he did a great job. Then things seemed to…I wouldn’t say went down. I think with more money coming to athletics in the late 70’s and 80’s, that we may have lagged a little bit, but I think we’ve picked things up now. Our athletic support group, the Student Aid Association, has a done a great job of raising money which has enabled us to be much more competitive.

Lack: Would you be able to go on a little more?

Lane: If there’s anything I have that you’d want I’ll be happy to.

Lack: Because I don’t want to cut you off.

(Tape ends).

Lack: We’re just back with tape two and I’m still talking to Calvin Lane here, this is Adina Lack. We’re talking about athletic support and the fan base for sports here at UNCW over the years. You’re a member of the Seahawk Club.

Lane: Yes I am, I’ve been ever since it started.

Lack: A lot of the club is focused on basketball, men’s basketball, right?

Lane: It is because basketball is probably our revenue sport so naturally we have to give a great deal of emphasis to it. The more money we can take in for that, it helps the other sports. If they can be self-sufficient and run their program, that gives us a lot more money for the minor sports that just don’t make enough money to sustain themselves.

I don’t know whether people understand all that or not, but I think for years I’ve talked to the basketball coaches and they’ve had to several road games against real good teams for the money. You know, you take the loss to get the money. A lot of people don’t understand that.

Lack: There’s a lot of finance and accounting involved with athletics.

Lane: But you know if you get a big guarantee to go someplace and place, a lot of schools if you’re division one. If you go play them, they’ll pay you a guaranteed amount of money to come there because they feel like they can get a win and it will help them if it’s against a division one opponent which helps them with their thrust to get in the NCAA tournament.

Unfortunately or fortunately whichever way you want to look at it, we’ve been so successful the last two or three years, some of these schools are now looking at us with maybe in not too friendly a light about paying us to come there because we may beat them now. But anyhow I know that a lot of the coaches in basketball had that problem and felt like a few years ago they had to take a loss to get the money to help run the program. I don’t think people understand that. They look at loss-win records and don’t understand all the ramifications behind that.

The Student Aid Association has done a great job in raising money. Now the emphasis is on basketball certainly, but now they have it set up where people can donate directly to an individual sport. I think each sport now has their own accounts so to speak and people can donate directly to men’s soccer or golf, they can do that now. They’ll earmark it for that.

Lack: Our swimming teams are quite good aren’t they?

Lane: Oh yes, Dave Allen has done a great job. He evidently is an excellent coach because I just can’t believe how good they’ve been the last few years. I mean he’s been very consistent. They’ve been consistently good and I know it hasn’t been easy for him because I’m sure he’s had the same problems. Dave’s been here 20 some years and the money support was not there for him to start with also so it’s been a very difficult job. He’s certainly maintained a high level of excellence with his program.

Lack: In your view since you have so much experience, what makes an excellent coach?

Lane: I think someone who’s really dedicated and has a great interest and love for the sport first off because for example in my case, I feel if I had put the time and energy in the business world as I did into coaching here and teaching, that without a doubt financially I would have had a lot morning money (laughter). I’d have been more successful financially.

In other respects I may not have been. Although I talk about a lot of stress involved, I really think that it helped me health wise to be coaching and teaching because I stayed very active. When I came out to UNCW I was probably 20-30 pounds overweight and I lost weight and stayed in very good physical condition the whole time I was here. In that way, I think it probably helped me.

But I think you have to be personally driven and have a love for your sport. As I said earlier, pressure from other people forces you to be good or to want to be good. I think it’s what’s inside you that drives you to do an excellent job and want to succeed. I think you have to have a knowledge of the activity to be able to teach others.

Then of course if you can’t recruit well as you get up to the higher level, you’re not going to be successful because I know coaches can make a big difference in many instances, but if you don’t have the great athletes, then you’re going to be limited as to how much success you can have. So I think you have to be able to recruit. I think there are several things that make good coaches or leads them to success.

Lack: I often wonder, it’s good to know. Well look at, I’m sure you’re a Carolina fan right now, but look at the Carolina basketball coach. He’s young and he’s having some…then you look at Brownell, also young, who’s doing really well.

Lane: Well there’s a couple of different scenarios there. To some degree, Jerry Wainwright left, he left Brad with a very good team with some good senior leadership. I think Brad is a very good coach. I go to practices sometimes and watch him. I think he’s very good and I think we’re lucky to have him. I think he’s shown that this year.

Carolina, the first year there, they had a good senior class with some good athletes and they did very well. Then the recruiting base was not there for the previous two or three years and they were left with nothing last year so they really suffered. This year they brought in two or three good athletes and they’re better, but it will take them two or three years to get back again. I think it depends on what you’re left with when you step into a program sometimes.

If Brad can replace his two really good seniors this year, I know he’s got some good guys there, then hopefully he will maintain his success also.

Lack: What did you think of Jerry Wainwright?

Lane: Jerry and I were good friends. I thought Jerry was an excellent coach because I think he ran the program the right way. There were no shortcuts in his program. He demanded certain things of his players as far as appearance, conduct and he was not afraid to discipline them. The best player on the team he treated the same as the worst player. To me that makes a winner as a coach. I expressed that to him on several occasions.

Lack: It was apparent that he did that.

Lane: I was very sorry to see him leave. I was very happy that he was able to better himself or so he thought I’m sure. He thought he had a better situation.

Lack: Did you travel out to California?

Lane: No, I did not, but I sure watched in on T.V. and really enjoyed it. That was probably the highlight of our basketball group here.

Lack: When they won the first round…

Lane: Well people don’t realize how close they came to beating Indiana _______ National Champion. They played a very tough game and I can’t remember all the details now, but the one very good player, the center kind of beat us at the end. That was a very good basketball game. It’s just hard for me to believe that we were in a position to beat the team and went on to win the national championship and we could have won the game. I think that speaks volumes for Jerry because he led the program. I hope Brad can have the same success.

Lack: Oh yeah, that’d be great. Did you have to get involved with some of these issues, discipline and appearance?

Lane: Oh yeah, you always have to. But I learned a long time ago, when I first started coaching, I had all these rules down. You had to do this, you had to do that. The first thing I found out was the more rules you write down, the more you have to enforce. It seems like the more you write down also, there’s always someone who’s going to break one of those rules.

So as I got a little more mature and a little wiser, I didn't put so much in writing, but I discussed it with everybody. I just sort of went by the feeling that first off I wanted them to conduct themselves in a way that would bring pride to our program, that they would not embarrass themselves, would not embarrass me, would not embarrass the university and would not embarrass the parents.

It more or less went from there. I handled each case of an infraction on an individual basis. I think sometimes it’s so hard to have rules that govern everybody and I tried to be fair to each individual. It’s very difficult. There comes a time though where you just have to make a decision that hurts. You have to sit someone, discipline, take them out of the program for a game or two if they’re breaking a team rule or if they’re consistently late for practice with no viable excuse. You have to do something sometimes.

It’s hard to do, but I think if you have a close relationship with your team, you can limit a lot of those things and you have a good understanding of what you’re trying to do as a group.

Lack: Yeah, there’s a lot of psychology involved. I mean not even when you’re on the playing field, but both, on the playing field and off.

Lane: Well you know unfortunately there are a lot of things that athletes have to go through. I’ve always said that being an athlete, it’s a privilege. It’s not a right, it’s a privilege and I think they have to hold themselves to a higher standard than the normal student. I sincerely believe that because a lot of them are getting money and they’re representing the university. Whether they like it or not, they are a university representative and have to conduct themselves that way.

I think a lot of programs who recruit young men who are not of the caliber they should be hurt themselves in the long run. They get a bad reputation. Fortunately I don’t think UNC Wilmington has done that at all. I think we’ve maintained a very high level of young men with good athletic and academic backgrounds.

Lack: It helps to have a coaching staff, you finally got an assistant in soccer. Did you ever have an assistant in golf?

Lane: No. Now that was one thing, I think in every sport, well I don’t think that women’s golf has an assistant, but I know men’s golf has an assistant. It’s hard to believe that I did that for 15 years with no assistant. You’re working with 20 some people out there, it’s very difficult. At the time, you don’t really think about it. You just do what you have to do. It doesn’t become an issue, you just do it.

As I said, I’m very happy that they have the funds now to have that type of staff that can handle this thing. It makes it better for the athlete and it makes it better for the head coach and the staff to be able to split duties and hopefully be more successful.

Lack: How have you been enjoying your retirement since ‘99?

Lane: I’ve enjoyed it very much. I’ve done a lot of traveling, played a lot of golf. I don’t play soccer much, but I play a lot of golf. I’ve played some senior tour events in North and South Carolina. Unfortunately age doesn’t seem to help my golf game too much. It’s been wonderful. I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve had good health.

Lack: And you and your wife enjoy traveling some.

Lane: Yes we do.

Lack: She enjoys traveling more? I guess the boat cruise you were saying…

Lane: I think she enjoys traveling more than I do. Two or three nights away from home is about all I want really. I like to get home because I like the activity in Southport and just playing golf, just being around the house, working in the yard and stuff. She’s not a yard person.

Lack: So it falls to you to do it. You’re a member of the Retired Faculty Association and try to go to those meetings?

Lane: I have not been active, but yeah I went to the last one. I kept saying, gee, they’re old and I just didn't feel like I was that old, but I am (laughter). I finally did go and I had a great time. In December, I went for the first time. My wife and I went and I had a great time and saw all my old friends that are still alive.

Lack: Some people from the department or just all over?

Lane: Dave Warner was there and Dave Miller was there. I think they were the ones from my department. A lot of the ones that I started with back in the 60’s were there and in the 70’s. So it was a great event and I will probably continue to go.

Lack: We have the society, the Order of Isaac Bear. Are you in that?

Lane: No, I’m not in that because I don’t know what the qualifications are, but maybe you had to be a teacher at the time.

Lack: They’ve made it broader now because they need to bring people in so they’ll probably be contacting you. Some people never taught there, but just have interest in the history or have been around and they’re now members. You probably know a lot of those people.

Lane: Yes, I do.

Lack: Calvin Doss.

Lane: I knew Calvin Doss well. In fact Calvin Doss was one of the first people I met when I moved to Wilmington because my wife had taught with him at ______ school before I moved to Wilmington the following year.

Lack: And with him in education.

Lane: Then I worked with him with student teachers. Marshall Cruz was really my boss when I worked in the finance office and I worked under him. I can truthfully say he was a very good boss. He’s a wonderful man, very easy to work with.

Lack: He’s been real helpful to archives and helping us with the history and giving us some information that we need. There’s a good number of people you probably know quite well. In education, you probably also knew Roy Harkin.

Lane: Yes, I did. I got to know Roy and his wife both very well. Roy did a great job with the school of education. I didn't have a lot of contact with Roy, but I would see him occasionally and talk to him. I was on a couple of committees in the school of education and worked with him.

Lack: Norman Kaylor.

Lane: Knew Norman well. In fact, Norman was chair of the retirees dinner that I came to. It was nice to see Norman. I had a lot of soccer players who were business majors so I had a lot of contact with Norman. He was very helpful when they came to town about letting them come over and meet faculty and maybe even audit a class. He was very interested and very helpful that way.

Lack: And he plays golf too. I don’t know whether you’ve played with him.

Lane: I haven’t played with him. Fletcher Norris was also on the faculty and he was one of my big soccer supporters. Just a lot of people at the retirees dinner that I saw that it had been years since I had seen them and I really enjoyed talking to them.

Lack: I’m glad you went.

Lane: I am too, but I was doing a lot of traveling so a lot of times they would have meetings and I’d be out of town.

Lack: Now I think they have that one at Christmas and they have one in the spring.

Lane: If I’m in town, I’ll keep going.

Lack: Did some of the international faculty come to soccer games?

Lane: You know I don’t recall that they did. I don’t recall that we had that many international faculty members.

Lack: We don’t, but there was someone else in chemistry I believe who was international and then Professor Ahmed, I think he’s political science.

Lane: I didn't really know him that well, but I knew he was on the faculty. There was a lady in the Spanish department, I want to say Gonzalez, but I’m not sure, that we had a big soccer clinic here when I was coaching soccer. We worked with some international group and I had a couple of coaches come in from South America. She helped me as an interpreter. They wanted to do some shopping and stuff. They gave a clinic and then she met them and I think took them to some of the stores and helped me with that.

Lack: Oh that’s nice. So it seems like it was very collaborative.

Lane: Very helpful, yeah.

Lack: I’d like to thank you so much for coming in and talking to me. We got some great stories.

Lane: Well it’s been my pleasure. I hope it’s been helpful. I don’t know that I have much worthwhile information.

Lack: Oh definitely and I’ve learned a lot. We’ll have it transcribed so that other people can read it.

Lane: But you should try to talk to Mel because I know we got our new gymnasium in 1977 and I can still remember walking across campus and watching the steel girders and beams go up and we got that building a little bit ahead of our time. Trask.

Lack: Someone I just talked to this week, I’m sure you know real well, was Charlie Cahill.

Lane: Oh yes and that was another man who is very, very nice. He’s just a prince of a fellow. He was very helpful to me when I was teaching and coaching.

Lack: Well your department head was your boss, but then he was probably their boss. Was that how it worked?

Lane: You had the department head and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Lack: He was kind over all the faculty.

Lane: Right, he was over all the faculty at the time. He was quite helpful to me on a couple of occasions. I thought he was a good man. He was very fair and just a great guy. We had so many good people here. I’ve been very lucky in my working conditions here.

Lack: Right, it really shows. We wouldn’t be who we are now.

Lane: You ought to talk to Mel Gibson some because as I said 1977, I don’t know who pushed for us to get that gymnasium at that time, but it’s hard to believe we’re selling it out now. You know if you don’t have a seat, you can’t go to the games. At that time we weren’t filling it up. There were a lot of empty seats in there even though we had a very good team. We had a few sellouts, but we got it way ahead of our time. It was very good and helpful to us in developing our program.

Lack: Yeah, he was great to talk to and he had a lot of interest in athletics obviously with his background.

Lane: Yes, he did. I remember he brought the Oklahoma State coach in here, Abe Levins, one time. He was quite a character. I can’t remember why he brought him in here, but he gave a talk I think or something. He was really a character. It was a lot of fun.

Lack: Great, well thank you very much Mr. Lane.

Lane: Adina, thank you very much.

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