July 13, 2012
THE FLATS – Listen for a few minutes to Chad Dollar, and his love for Atlanta comes across in all manner of references and discussion. A lifelong fan of the Atlanta Braves, Falcons and Hawks, he jumped at the chance to coach at Georgia Tech, which took the city by storm when he was a youngster.
He is also born and bred into a basketball family. His father, Don, was a legendary high school coach in the Atlanta area, winning more than 660 games, most of them at Douglass High School. He is now an assistant coach at Seattle University for his son and Chad’s brother, Cameron, who became a star at UCLA after a standout prep career in Atlanta and has been head coach at Seattle for three years.
Chad was one of seven players on his Douglass High School team to earn a Division I athletic scholarship. He has moved onto be a 13-year veteran coach in the college ranks, and like his co-worker, Billy Schmidt, has an NIT Championship on his resume, which he helped Wichita State win in 2010.
Sting Daily sat down with Dollar to talk basketball and some other things.
What are words or a phrase you would use to describe yourself?
“The ultimate worker.” Hard worker , dedication, and commitment are other words that describe me.
Where would you say you got that from?
When I grew up in College Park, Ga., I used to go to the Decatur Recreation Center, which is still around. I think that’s were that foundation was put in.
How did you get started playing basketball as a kid?
My dad was a high school coach in the area. I got started growing up being around him a lot when he was coaching.
What other sports did you play as a kid?
I played football, basketball, and baseball as a kid growing up. Those were the three main sports I played. I played all of those until mid-high school. That is when I decided to concentrate on basketball.
What led you to concentrate on basketball?
The summers in high school are when the AAU teams were popular. The summer was also when summer baseball was going on. So I had to decide between baseball and basketball. I decided on basketball because I had grown up around it and played it more than the other sports.
What led you to a career in coaching? Can you pinpoint a time in your life when you decided to become a coach?
It was probably at a young age. When I was younger, I would go with my dad to these basketball camps and would see all of the college coaches there evaluating players. At that point, I decided I wanted to be a college coach.
Who would you consider your biggest influence(s) in becoming a basketball coach?
I would say my dad when it comes to coaching. There are other coaches out there who I watch and pattern myself after, like Lorenzo Romar. He is somebody I watch and pattern myself off of. You always have to remember the guys that gave you your first opportunity to coach. For me, that was Rick Scruggs at Gardner Webb.
Who would you consider your biggest influence how you handle your daily business?
Lorenzo Romar at the University of Washington is a guy I’ve watched for several years. He actually coached my brother when he was an assistant. He has been at Washington for several years both as an assistant and now as the head coach. He is one guy who very few people have negative things to say about both as a person and as a coach.
What coach, college or pro, do you consider the best in the business? Why?
An older guy that I watched when I was younger was Hubie Brown. He coached in Atlanta for a few years. He has done numerous clinics as well. He has a great basketball mind. He loves the game of basketball. He is a teacher of the game. Out of the current coaches, I would say Phil Jackson. He coached several teams which were loaded with talent. I like the fact that he was able to mold and shape several different guys into one team. That is a beautiful thing to be able to do.
Up to now, what has been the thing that has brought you the most satisfaction as a coach, a favorite player, a favorite stop in your career, something your team accomplished…?
I think it’s when you a have freshmen who comes into your program, graduate, and then become successful after college, whether they’re playing basketball or not.
What about the game of basketball really draws you in, motivates you, makes it a great game?
The thing that motivates me is seeing a group of guys come from all different races, religions or societies come together to make a team. To then see them develop friendships is a beautiful thing. There are not many things that we do in society today where people from different backgrounds come together like that.
Do you have a favorite professional team? Which is it and why?
Being here in Atlanta, I would have to say the Atlanta Braves. I have grown up following them since I was little. Even though I coach basketball, I love to watch and follow baseball.
Do you have a favorite NBA team?
I would have to say my hometown Atlanta Hawks.
Is there a sport outside of basketball that you really enjoy, follow or play recreationally?
That would be baseball. People say it is boring but I really enjoy it. I like it because I like to dissect the game and understand it better. I like to look at what pitches are thrown to certain hitters, how the outfield is aligned, and how coaches make changes to their lineup cards. That is interesting to me. I used to work out at the stadium, so I used watch batting practice a lot.
What activity outside of basketball, or a hobby, do you enjoy most?
I like to go to various sporting events here in Atlanta. I like to venture away from just the major sports and go to things like NASCAR races, hockey games, and tennis matches.
How many of those kinds of events have you been to?
I have been to Bristol three times for a NASCARr race. I have been to the U.S. Open tennis tournament a couple of times. When I lived in Florida, I went to a couple of hockey games. I went to a college hockey game recently at place where I used to coach had a game in the area.
Do you like music? What kind of music do you like to listen to most?
I am not really a big music guy. I listen to the top music on the radio. I listen to a little bit of everything since I have lived in different parts of the country.
What station do you have your car radio set to the most?
I do have Satellite Radio and I listen to some of the oldies music stations. I listen to music when I work out also.
Do you like to cook? If so, what is your favorite thing to make?
I cook a little bit. I am a grill guy who loves to cook steaks or chicken on the grill.
How do you prepare your steak on the grill?
I put some type of sauce on the meat to tenderize and flavor it with. I like Cajun sauces because I like it to be spicy.
Where did you go on your last vacation? Is there a favorite spot you like to visit regularly?
I usually go to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
What is your favorite getaway spot – beach, lake or mountains? Why?
When I was coaching at Western Carolina, I realized that the mountains were beautiful. There have been a few times where I have gotten a cabin in North Carolina and Georgia mountain area.
Do you read books, see movies, watch TV? Current favorite? All-time favorite?
I read a lot of spiritual books. I like to read Joe Orsteen and my cousin Creflo Dollar’s books a lot. I watch a movie called Love & Basketball a lot. That is my favorite movie.
What is your favorite place to eat in Atlanta? How often do you go there? What makes you like it so much?
I don’t have one particular place I go to. I like the variety of soul food places that Atlanta has.
Do you have a favorite attraction or place in Atlanta that you have regularly visited?
I go to Centennial Olympic Park on the weekends occasionally.
What was your perception of Georgia Tech basketball BEFORE YOU HAD ANY IDEA YOU WOULD COME TO WORK HERE?
I always had a good perception of Georgia Tech. When you thought of Georgia Tech, you thought of Georgia Tech basketball. A lot of that has to do with the history of Georgia Tech basketball going back to Bobby Cremins and players he had such as John Salley and Mark Price. I think you thought of Georgia Tech as a premiere basketball school.