Finding his place
By Mike Sielski
Record shows Tennent's Dolton happy coaching
WARMINSTER - Fifteen years ago, as a student trainer at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., Glenn Dolton used to sit on the bench with the Messiah men's basketball team, and he often found himself yelling instructions to players.
"The head trainer said, 'You can't do that,' " Dolton said. "I said, 'Well, then I can't be here.' "
That was the moment Dolton knew he wanted to be a basketball coach, and his four seasons at William Tennent's head boys coach, this season in particular, have validated his vocation.
The Panthers' victory total has increased every year since Dolton arrived, and under him, the school's program has improved to arguably the highest point in its history. Tennent is 23-3, has won the Suburban One League Colonial Division championship, and can advance to the semifinals of the PIAA District One Class AAAA tournament if it defeats Upper Dublin tonight (7) at Hatboro-Horsham High School.
"In the last couple years, we've had tremendous chemistry," Dolton, 36, said after Tennent's Thursday afternoon practice. "The kids care about each other. They hang out together. They like each other. It's amazing how it evolves."
Tennent's program could do nothing but evolve when Dolton took the job in 1998. In his first season, the Panthers went 2-22 and were the Colonial Division's last-place team.
The following season, they won nine games.
Last season, they won 15. One of those victories was the first district playoff victory in school history.
This season, they are the district's No. 3 seed and, against the 11th-seeded Flying Cardinals, would seem favored to gain a berth into the semifinals.
"I always felt there were good players here," said Dolton, a physical education teacher in the Upper Moreland School District. "It was just a matter of getting everybody on the same page. We've got some kids who are talented who could play anywhere. And they've just continued to grow together."
As has their coach.
"He can be laid-back or a disciplinarian," Tennent senior swingman Jeremy Lopez said. "He can joke with us, and he's a well disciplined coach. He's taught us well."
"He's changed," said Tennent senior guard Frank Moultrie, Dolton's only four-year varsity player. "When I was a freshman, he used to get angry a lot. Now, he knows how the team plays. He's more relaxed now."
Losing 22 of 24 games might have raised Dolton's anxiety level from time to time, but he had seen worse.
Since graduating from Messiah in 1987, he had ricocheted from program to program before settling at Tennent. He spent four years as an assistant varsity coach at Cheltenham High School, four years as Lower Moreland's head boys coach and one season as the assistant men's coach at Delaware Valley College.
In Dolton's lone year at DelVal, 1995-96, the Aggies went 0-23.
"It helped me as I was taking the next step," he said. "That was good."
At least something was.
After DelVal, Dolton was an assistant at Tennent for two years under Cecil Mosenson, then succeeded him. In the years since, he has learned to be less animated in his dealings with players and less rigid in his game-time strategy, he said.
He still yells, of course. But he can do that here.
"I think our guys know I'm intense," he said. "I feel I've grown in that I let guys be creative.
"I think a lot of it is that these guys have dedicated themselves. They're in here lifting. They're doing the off-season workouts. That's what it took to get us to where we are, and we've got kids who want to be that way."
CREDIT: The Courier Times