Basketball coaching legend Tom Dickman’s playbook prepares his teams for success on and off the court.
By Adam Kulikowski
Tom Dickman still has the notebook he kept during his senior season at Shepherd University. Recorded on the yellowed pages are his scribbled observations on coaching styles. It was 1971, the year Dickman became serious about pursuing a future as a basketball coach. He started learning the trade by studying the game and watching coaches he admired. When he graduated, he began his odyssey as an assistant at Governor Thomas Johnson (TJ) High School in Frederick.
A year later, Dickman became the head coach at TJ.
“Once I decided that was what I wanted to do, I really wanted to be good at it,” Dickman recalls. “I would go to clinics, watch coaches who had been in the game a long time. To be honest, that was my thing. That was my profession — my hobby. That’s what I did when my family went on vacation; they would go sit on the beach and I would sit somewhere where I could ‘X’ and ‘O’ and prepare for the season coming up.”
He stayed at TJ for nearly 30 years, achieving a record number of victories, winning numerous championships and, most importantly, changing the lives of hundreds of student-athletes both on and off the court — and on the path to becoming a local coaching legend.
“He’s a great teacher,” declares Terry Connolly, a former standout player under Dickman. “He really teaches the game. He breaks it down in the simplest terms. He makes it easy for his players to understand. He also teaches life lessons, how he approaches practice and how he wants his kids to approach practices, and the games teach you about everyday life.”
Thanks to Dickman’s coaching, many of TJ’s grads were recruited by dozens of collegiate basketball programs, including the University of Maryland, Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh.
His efforts paid off handsomely on the court as well. Dickman-led teams racked up 592 wins, seven state championships and 18 league championships.
The boisterous coach is known for his team’s lockdown, pressing defense, but it isn’t what sets him apart from other coaches, according to former TJ and Hood College player, Darnell Edmonds. “I think what sets Coach Dickman aside from other coaches is that he is very well prepared in his planning,” Edmonds says. “He always had a good idea of what he was going to see. During the game, he was very good at changing the game plan during live play. He was able to rework things and that’s what continues to make him effective.”
Indeed, the examples are many.
Dickman reminisces about the 1997 state championship squad he led — one that featured future NBA power forward Terence Morris and Dickman’s two sons, Chad and Adam.
He remembers that team which faced five teams in the USA Today “Top 20.” And he remembers that team reaching the Class 3A state championship game where it faced Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. His country-based team upset the city boys of Dunbar, cruising to a 31-point victory. It is a memory Dickman cherishes.
And it’s one he took with him when he embarked on a new challenge in 2003 — head coach of the Hood College men’s basketball team — a team that didn’t exist when Dickman signed on. Founded in 1893 as a women’s college, male students had been part of Hood’s student population since 1971, but they weren’t allowed to live on campus until the college became fully coeducational the year Dickman arrived.
“It piqued my interest to start a program from scratch,” Dickman says of the move from one of the best high school programs in Maryland. “I have no regrets. If I hadn’t, I would have kicked myself in the tail because I enjoyed it. The people at Hood really appreciate the type of program we established.”
In that first season at the college, Dickman’s troops earned a winning record, 13-11 overall. “That was a huge step,” Dickman says, “to be able to have a winning season in the first year. We had no uniforms, no equipment. I thought we had basketballs. When I came the first week of school, I realized that they were all girls’ balls. It was a whole other experience for me. It was a whole new experience for the school and all the guys we recruited. But we grew together.”
During the last decade, Dickman adjusted to the differences in the college game — the shot clock and longer games. He’s transitioned well, notching more than 130 victories, and earned the title CAC Coach of the Year for the 2006-2007 season, after he led Hood to its first ever NCAA Tournament berth.
And he’s loved every moment.
“I never in my 40 years dreaded going to work one day,” Dickman says. “It is always something I look forward to. For most people, the winters drag by, but for me, they fly. There is always a practice to prepare for, another game to get ready for. In any coaching situation, there are personal situations to deal with — always something on your plate.”
And always another student-athlete to mold.
Zoe’s Chocolates will get the chance of a lifetime next week when they take up temporary residence in Los Angeles as part of Pre-Academy Awards festivities in California.
The business has been chosen as the exclusive chocolatier of the 2013 Academy Awards’ Celebrity Lounge. Zoe Tsoukatos and her two brothers, Pantelis and Petros, will be offering the 16-piece Academy Awards Assortment and their Bendel 24 Karat Gold Bars to attendees.
This isn’t the first time the business has been selected as a presenter to the stars. In 2011, Zoe’s provided similar offerings at the Emmy Awards.
Zoe’s Chocolates is headquartered in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, where the chocolates are manufactured. They have a storefront in downtown Frederick on North Market Street.
What we wanna know is … do they make ’em banana flavored?
By Kelly Brooks
Photographs by Erick Gibson
Sean Pratt helps direct his fellow actors toward a successful livelihood in the performing arts
Sean Pratt’s acting professors taught him how to put on a good show. With bachelor’s degree in hand, he moved to New York City, launched his career and quickly became … a starving artist.
“I know what it’s like to not know where my next job is coming from. I’ve been there. I sang for my supper in the subways of London — literally,” he recalls. Like many aspiring actors, he knew nothing about the “business” half of “show business.”
But Pratt has come a long way since those times of struggling to survive as a working actor. He’s learned everything he can about “the Business of The Biz,” and today, the Frederick-based actor is a prolific audio book narrator. Specializing in nonfiction, particularly business and economics, Pratt just completed recording his 660th book.
That successful approach to his career has allowed him to “have those crazy things, like a middle-class existence, which most actors never have.” He tells stories of friends in the industry who are on tour, working in Vegas or employed on a cruise line. “They’re mostly single, or if they’re married, they don’t have kids. You can’t have a family like that.” Yet Pratt does have a family — a wife, actress Shannon Parks, and children Noah, 22, and Olivia, 12. “That’s a real luxury for us in our industry,” he says.
How does he do it? It takes diligence, hard work and business savvy. Pratt spends five or more hours in the recording studio each day; the rest of his time is spent coaching actors, teaching actors basic business skills and, oh yeah, writing a book.
For actors launching their careers, Pratt’s To Be or Wanna Be: The Top Ten Differences Between a Successful Actor and a Starving Artist gives an introduction to the ins and outs of the business of show biz. The 10 distinctions he discusses include “A Successful Actor Thinks Like Leonardo da Vinci/A Starving Artist Thinks Like Homer Simpson” and “A Successful Actor is a Great Money Manager/A Starving Artist is a 24-Hour ATM.”
“What does networking mean? What’s the right day job to have? Most actors have never even considered it,” states Pratt, who teaches these skills at local colleges, The Actors’ Center in Washington, D.C. and on YouTube. Through his business, Sean Pratt Presents, he instructs actors in the basics of how to land a gig — with the right monologue, résumé style and cover letter — and also covers business topics such as how to build your brand, market yourself and be your own CEO. While Pratt draws on his acting experiences for his lessons, the career advice he dispenses about listening more than talking, taking responsibility and pursuing excellence would be beneficial in just about any walk of life.
To Be or Wanna Be started as a handout for his workshops, grew into a downloadable handbook to share online and eventually become something more. For 1 1/2 years, Pratt spent his after-narration evening hours writing, revising and — of course —narrating his book. The hard copy and audiobook launched in July.
His goal is to give actors the structure they need to be successful, and the Frederick area, Pratt finds, is a great place to mentor aspiring thespians. He points out that Washington, D.C. is the second-largest theater market in the country and the Philadelphia-Baltimore-D.C. corridor ranks third in producing films. In other words, says Pratt, “There’s a ton of work here. You can really make money doing this.”
Pratt moved to Frederick in June 2010, when his wife accepted a position as Director of the Riotous Youth, the Maryland Shakespeare Festival’s program for kids ages 10 through 18. “I love Frederick,” Pratt exclaims. “I tell my friends in New York, this little chunk of downtown reminds me of 9th Avenue meets Christopher Street.”
He elaborates further on his comparison, “Frederick has traffic, businesses, banks on the corner” similar to 9th Avenue, yet also has “street musicians, funky people walking around, and there’s always something happening in the streets,” just like Christopher Street in The Village.
Seeing art, music and performance on the streets and in the community is what Pratt loves about his adopted hometown. “The arts are not just about being on Broadway or in a major movie or something. Really the arts are about community participation and giving your kids more. So if you’ve got a town like Frederick that’s helping foster this kind of stuff, that’s a wonderful, wonderful place.”
Presenting Sean Pratt
Audio books recorded:
You’ve seen him in movies:
Gods and Generals
Iron Jawed Angels
You’ve seen him on TV:
HGTV’s Old Homes Restored
America’s Most Wanted
You’ve seen him on stage:
Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, D.C.
CENTERSTAGE, The State Theater of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland
Actors Shakespeare Company, Albany, New York
The Pearl Theatre, New York, New York
To learn more about Sean Pratt and his new book, go to www.seanprattpresents.com and www.tobeorwannabe.com.
Joanna McVicker Overcame a Brain Injury to Build an Independent, Productive Life with the Help of a Unique Goodwill Rehabilitation Program
By Michael Vyskocil
Images Courtesy of Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley
“You’ll never be able to graduate.”
“You’re not smart enough to go to college.”
“You’ll never be able to find a job.”
Joanna McVicker heard such comments from a variety of people for much of her young life. The Middletown woman’s battle began 20 years ago with a brain injury she sustained after being kicked in the head by a horse at age 4. It was unclear at first how this accident would affect her life, but her classroom experience slowly revealed the extent of the damage. “They started noticing it when I was in school, and I had trouble concentrating, learning and understanding,” McVicker recalls.
A battery of exams and testing confirmed what she and her family feared — her cognitive functions and ability to retain and process information had indeed been impaired. Growing up, McVicker struggled to perform simple tasks, such as remembering where she placed objects in her home. These challenges also spilled over to her young adulthood, impacting her dreams of furthering her education and securing a good job.
That’s where Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley (GIMV) entered McVicker’s life. The nonprofit Frederick County organization conducts a unique Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) program devoted specifically to helping individuals with head trauma learn strategies to cope in their personal and professional lives. The program has been in place there for two years.
After numerous failed attempts to secure meaningful employment, in August 2010, McVicker received a GIMV referral. Her Department of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) counselor felt she would benefit most from a course that provided both cognitive and vocational training skills, and the ABI program was a natural fit. The instructor, Patie Elsberry, like her pupils also has a brain injury. “She understood my issues because she lives with the same things I was struggling with,” McVicker acknowledges.
“You learn memory skills. You do word scrambles where you have to challenge your brain. There are lots of things you have to read about how to improve your memory. We had tons of journaling that we had to do every day,” McVicker recounts of her time in the ABI class. “The program teaches us how to be independent, and through that, we received job training skills workshops.”
But the real test remained – would she be successful at finding employment?
McVicker ultimately landed a job with the Tourism Council of Frederick County’s Visitor Center. Robyn Hildebrand, the center’s manager, says McVicker was the first person the organization hired from Goodwill’s programs.
However, Goodwill was no stranger to Hildebrand. “Initially, Goodwill was doing our lead fulfillment mailings offsite, at their Church Street facility. This was arranged by Tom Buttner, business consultant with Monocacy Valley Goodwill. After a time, Tom approached us with the idea of placing a candidate from the ABI program to do the mailings on site at the new Visitor Center. Joanna was that candidate,” she explains.
McVicker admits to being hesitant to accept the offer: “I was a little nervous at first. I was afraid I’d lose a job again.” But thanks to her ABI training and Hildebrand’s help, McVicker says she has the confidence and ability to fulfill the duties of her position, which include organizing mailings, restocking brochures, preparing welcome bags for tour groups and manning the center’s front desk where she fields questions from visitors.
“Everyone is very happy to have Joanna as a staff member. In addition to her sweet personality, she is an asset with skills that have been helpful beyond her responsibility for the lead fulfillment mailings,” Hildebrand says.
“For the first time, I feel empowered in my life,” McVicker exclaims. “I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned at Goodwill with other people.” In addition to those personal achievements, her efforts, work ethic and determination to succeed have also earned a national award. In late June,McVicker will travel to Florida to receive the 2012 Kenneth Shaw Graduate of the Year award from Goodwill Industries International. The honor recognizes individuals who have successfully completed a Goodwill career program and attained subsequent employment by a non-Goodwill employer in their local communities.
“Disabilities like Joanna’s are often invisible to the public,” remarks Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International. “She proves to others with similar disabilities that there are ways to be successful in the workplace.”
McVicker says that the help she received through Goodwill has inspired her to return to college to study gerontology with the goal of one day working with the elderly.
“I would tell anyone not to give up and to keep going after their dream,” she says.
To learn more about Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley and the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) program, visit www.gimv.org/programs_Brain.html.
Goodwill Industries of Monocacy Valley
400 E. Church St., Frederick
Written and photographed by Bill Millios
In today’s world of metrosexuals and man scents Andy Bonheyo is a throwback to a more primitive time.
Athletic director and head football coach for the Maryland School for the Deaf, Bonheyo believes that his real vocation is the making of men—old style. In another time, Bonheyo might have been a general, a knight, or a doer of legendary deeds. He could have been out slaying beasts, conquering countries, rounding up outlaws or mapping new frontiers.
By Edwards A. Holiday | Photography by Bill Millios
Paula Jagemann’s method for success is simple: Work until you bleed, do more than is asked and relentlessly pursue solutions that make a difference in people’s lives. Like her hero Bono, of U2, this Frederick resident, entrepreneur and former UUNET Technologies, Inc. executive is on a mission to solve massive problems.