SOUTH WHITLEY — Anyone who has played a sport and has been blessed to play for a great coach can attest to the influence that kind of coach can have on their lives. Great coaches build confidence. They encourage the bonds of friendship and camaraderie.

Whitko High School graduate Doug Frederick was fortunate to play for two great coaches. When Frederick had the opportunity to give something back to honor one of those two coaches, he jumped at the opportunity.

Frederick made the lead gift to establish an endowment fund that would honor former Dawson Community College head basketball coach Dennis Perryman. The endowment in Perryman’s name will be used to help fund the basketball program. For Frederick, the endowment is also the chance to provide other players at Dawson the opportunity to enjoy playing for the program the way Frederick did.

“Coach meant a lot to us,” Frederick said about Perryman. “There were a lot of guys who wouldn’t have played if not for a guy like Coach giving them the opportunity.”

Dawson is located in Glendive, Montana. For Frederick, Dawson was a chance to continue playing basketball. It was also where he met his wife of 38 years, Claudia. To be able to give back to his alma mater was something Frederick couldn’t pass up.

“It was an honor to be able to do it,” Frederick said. “We feel very fortunate to be a part of it.”

Dawson College is not where Frederick’s basketball life began, though. He started off as a player for the Wildcats under head coach Bill Patrick. It was Patrick who put Frederick on the path to playing basketball in college.

Frederick said after his junior year he hadn’t played very much. Coach Patrick called him in to his office and asked if Frederick wanted to play in college. Patrick gave Frederick a notecard with workout instructions on it. He also gave the upcoming senior a basketball, a pair of Converse shoes and a key to the gym, and said he wanted them worn out by the end of summer.

Until school started, Frederick was in the gym so much his mom joked about putting a cot in there for him to sleep.

In the first game of the season of his senior year Frederick scored a then school-record 43 points. Frederick was surprised by the results. But more importantly, he recognized what Patrick had done for him.

“He had such an impact on me,” Frederick said of Patrick. “He’s influenced a lot of lives.”

Frederick was able to go on to Huntington University where he was playing basketball. But, he felt like he wanted something different out of life. That is when Frederick was contacted by his friend Dennis Harp. It was Harp who talked Frederick into moving out to Montana and playing for Perryman at Dawson.

Frederick now lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife. His three sons and four grandchildren all live nearby. Frederick is in the Whitko basketball Hall of Fame and is one of only two NJCAA All-Americans to have ever played at Dawson.