All Dave Hixon can do is wait.
Retired Amherst College men’s basketball coaching legend Naismith Memorial is a finalist for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, but he won’t find out until later this month, just days before an official announcement on April 1.
Retired since 2020, Haye is in the barn, can’t improve his chances on his 826 wins, his two national championships or any other way. So Hixon will wait, Golf will hope a little more.
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He is not the only one who is hopeful. All of Division III men’s basketball is hoping with him. If he does, Hixon will be the first coach at that level to be installed. There are coaches from high school, a handful from Division II and plenty of Division I and NBA coaches. But Hixon, who had offers to become head coach of the Division I Ivy and Patriots leagues, stayed at Amherst and Division III.
A Hixon induction would not only honor his impressive career, but it would garner all Division III respectability and perhaps open the door for other great coaches to consider down the road.
“It’s an incredible honor for me and an incredible honor for Division III. Division III is a special place. I’m so glad they’re looking at Division III. If it was anyone from Division III, I would be standing Cheering the loudest,” Hixon said. “I love Division III. I love its competition. I love that there is no money involved and the kids choose the places for academic reasons. … I don’t know if you’ll notice the difference when you’re playing and the gym is full.
Hixon knew he was eligible to be nominated, but did not know who had submitted his candidacy. A friend, aware of what was about to happen, suggested that he be in front of his television at 5:30 p.m. on February 17, when the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2023 will be inducted during NBA All-Star Weekend. The finalists were revealed. ,
In addition to Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade, Hixon heard them name themselves among the finalists.
“It’s very exciting. We are one step closer to where you want to be,” he said. “It’s very exciting to be in that company.”
The finalists will now be narrowed down to the Establishment category, which will be revealed at the men’s Final Four in Houston on April 1. Classes will be held in August.
Hixon has been to the inauguration ceremony before. As a child growing up in Andover, he would take the train to North Station and pay $6 to watch the Celtics play the Sixers and Lakers. Working just across the street from Springfield as an adult, he and some coaching buddies would buy a table at the annual dinner in Springfield so they could watch Hall of Famers get made in the old Boston Garden.
He’s looking forward to joining them, but until then he’ll wait.
“I think it will be quiet now for the next three weeks,” he said. “Then I’ll just go with my retirement.”