|Unioto and the SVC will forever be
impacted by the life of Dale Haynes
|By Shayne Combs, SVCsportszone.com
SVCsportszone.com would like to join together with the Unioto community in mourning the loss of a local legend and
to remember the amazing impact that Dale Haynes has had on the entire SVC community.
As a player, Dale graduated in 1967, and at that time was just the second guy in Unioto history to score 1,000
points. Fast forward 30-plus years and he was still just one of only two (Don Neff, a 1955 graduate who scored 1,070
being the other) to hit the scoring milestone. This was a time where Unioto basketball started to take off and Dale
was once again in the middle of it all. Players throughout the entire decade of the 1990s were products of a Unioto
little league environment that Dale implemented and grew into one of the area’s most productive feeder programs.
My earliest memories of Dale came at a young age. Little league programs were extremely small, and for the most
part, fifth and sixth grade students played intramural and an occasional travel tournament.
“Hey Combs! I hope that’s a nice game you’re watching out there.”
My brother Matt and I were enjoying some memories of Dale, and Matt recalled Coach Haynes once yelling this at
him in a sixth-grade game.
“Dale was the first person that really coached me hard,” Matt said to me this week as we reminisced about all Dale
did for us and for the Unioto program. “He taught me how to take criticism and grow from it as a player.”
I know in my playing days, Dale was so important in me “finding” myself as a player. I remember him once telling me
that a true leader – a true point guard – is one who can impact a game far beyond any stat sheet could explain.
I have really enjoyed hearing the impact that Dale has had on so many people of so many ages. One of my favorites
came from my SVC Sports Talk friend John Bruce. John was talking about the Unioto programs that Dale was
responsible for during a long stretch of Unioto history. His attention to detail and the small facts located at the bottom
of the pages were priceless.
I know Dale was always a big supporter of the entire SVC. He was so supportive of this website as well. I looked
forward to my weekly emails from Dale that would help me check my scores, stats, schedules, and other SVC details.
It allowed us to share a mutual bond of SVC sports. These emails certainly didn’t match my opportunities to see Dale
at a game and talk face-to-face. Again, the common theme of these conversations always deflected away from him.
He always wanted to know how my family was doing, and he always had different questions about the website.
I know Dale served as “Mr. Unioto” for so many of us. Over the past few years, I know communities all over the SVC
have said goodbye to long-lasting figures in their respective communities. This allows all of us to understand how
people who serve multiple generations become the fabric that make up our incredible SVC communities.
“It is hard to describe just how much Dale has meant to the Unioto community,” Matt described to me as our
conversation continued about basketball but stretched to a variety of ways that Dale contributed to the community.
“From his Hall of Fame playing days of scoring 1,000 points, to building the little league program from the ground up,
to all the junior high coaching, to being a constant fan . . . it’s like I stated in a Facebook memory this week – If there
was a Mount Rushmore for Unioto, Dale’s face would be on it.”
Personally, this is a time I want to send all my thoughts and prayers to Sherry, Kendra, Kelly, and the entire family. I
can’t even imagine what the exact number would be in terms of the people Dale impacted in some way during the
time of wearing all his hats in the Unioto (and SVC) community. What I do know is that I will always appreciate Dale’s
willingness to give. Be it his time, his knowledge, or his effort in many other ways, he served as a great example of
motivation for us all to continue to work to give back to kids and pay things forward in order for our community to
have a sense of who we have been and what we strive for the next generation to be.