Boston Herald: Dana Barros enjoys taking a shot at coaching Newbury

Photo: Boston Herald Staff
Photo: Boston Herald Staff

By Stephen Hewitt, Boston Herald

During a stoppage in play, his team nursing a late, close lead, Dana Barros walked over to the scorer's table and placed his nearly empty bottle of Pepsi on top of it.

Another sip from his soda of choice seemingly insufficient, he searched for an alternative to aid his throat after hollering from the sidelines for almost 40 minutes.

"I need some cough drops like Doc Rivers or something," Barros said jokingly, in reference to the former Celtics coach.

Moments earlier, a game of highs and lows hit its peak when Jeduan Langston, Barros' star guard, made a layup while drawing the foul, giving Newbury College a four-point lead over Regis, in position to grab its first win of the season.

But in what's been a theme this season, that excitement had to be subdued. The Nighthawks couldn't hold on, ultimately losing their ninth game. Barros, though, looked at the bigger picture. In the locker room after the game, he told his team how proud he was of them, knowing full well where they've been and the strides they've made.

These are the types of coaching moments Barros, the first-time head coach, is learning on the fly. The former Xaverian and Boston College star who carved out an impressive 14-year NBA career has been going back to school in his own way.

"Patience is the most important thing," the 49-year-old Barros said. "Anticipating everyone knowing the things I think they should know is something I've had to learn, to almost go back to a lot of the fundamentals of the game with these guys, but it's been fun."

Coaching has always been in Barros' blood. Once an assistant at Northeastern, he has worked in player development for the Celtics and opened his own Dana Barros Basketball Club, where he owns gyms and runs coaching clinics for young players.

But a few years ago, he decided he wanted to try a different level of coaching.

Barros interviewed for jobs at Stonehill and UMass-Boston before being hired by Newbury last April, a fit he deemed to be a "perfect situation." He wanted to stay close to home with his family — one of his sons goes to BC, while the other is in high school — and he wanted to begin coaching somewhere he could get his feet wet and build something.

And with Newbury, he's practically building from scratch after the Nighthawks were 9-66 in the three years that preceded his arrival. Barros is also learning a dynamic of coaching kids who may not have a linear focus on basketball. They pay to go to school, and their side jobs sometimes force them to miss practice.

"It's been patience, but it's also learning how to coach the game differently than if I was in the NBA or something like that," Barros said. "It's almost like tutoring and mentoring as well, because a lot of these kids just play. They don't understand the game as much as I thought they would."

Barros has eyes on coaching at a higher level, but not yet. For now, he's enjoying a challenge that he called "super fun."

"I love being the underdog," Barros said. "I love being the guy that no one expects to succeed, and that falls in perfectly with this situation. I still need to get a win, you know what I mean, but that's the story of my life.

"This is me. The ultimate underdog, just trying to make it in the jungle."

Article Courtesy of Stephen Hewitt, Boston Herald -  Article Link