Lakeshore's Dock continues success coaching multiple sports

When school let out Monday afternoon at Lakeshore High School, football players headed off to the Stadium for off-season conditioning. There was longtime football coach Denny Dock ready to time each and every one of them in the 40.

"I needed conditioning more," said football hopeful Nick Ross.

"We can figure this out," coach Dock told Ross with a smile. "Anybody that is bigger than I am, we can figure it out."

Dock's been coaching the Lancer football team since 1988 and has led them to multiple district, regional and semi-state championships.

"we're done," Dock told his guys. "Let's go to softball."

Oh yeah--he's also the Lakeshore head softball coach. So at 3:15, Dock left the football stadium, hopped in his mini van and drove down the block to the softball field, where warmups were already underway for his other team.

"As you can see, I have awesome assistants," Dock says as he carries a bunch of equipment from his van to the field. "They turn the switch on and make this one go."

When Coach Dock walks onto the diamond, there's one rule---he can't say the word football. He agrees to this in exchange that his players aren't allowed to say the word prom.

But in many ways Dock works his girls just as hard as his football players.

"A lot of people say he's really hard but he's a really good coach," explains senior captain and centerfielder Kaitlin Cornwell. "He works us really hard. Obviously that's why we're so good. We practice harder than anyone else."

And all that work isn't just taxing on the players.

"it's difficult," the 59-year-old Dock admits. "It can be a little mentally testing as much as anything."

Dock retired as a physical education teacher at Lakeshore two years ago. So that makes things a little easier on him. He spends part of his winter in Florida with his wife. But his mind is always on his two sports. It begs the question---which sport is Coach Dock the better coach in?

"Well that's obvious," Dock says. "Softball."

Dock's led Lakeshore to six state championships over the last 17 years, including the last two.

So maybe that was any easy question. But here's the tough one: which sport does he like coaching more?

"Boy you are not going to get me on that," Dock says with a huge laugh. "Here is the answer. I love coaching them both. I really do. I don't think I have a favorite. I really don't."

When he isn't coaching softball or football, or vacationing in Florida, Dock still refs high school basketball games. He jokes it helps him get to know the refs better so they might give him better calls in his other sports.

Dock's softball team is in regionals Saturday at Edwardsburg. They are in search of that always remarkable achievement in sport---the 3-peat. And he still feels he has some unfinished business in football, having yet to win a state championship there.

"it's been a great run--it really has," Dock says.

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