Dreher returns to Fruita as new boys hoops coach
Billy Dreher graduated from Fruita Monument High School in 1988, then bagged bits of basketball knowledge from around the world. Now he’s coming home for show and tell.
Dreher, the University of California-Berkeley’s career 3-point-shooting record-holder, was hired Thursday as Fruita Monument High School’s boys basketball coach.
“He is the best basketball player to come out of this valley,” District 51 Athletic Director Paul Cain said. “He’s ... man ... “
Then Cain’s voice trailed off, and he began talking about Dreher’s 3-point reign at California.
Dreher is 42. But he’s been playing basketball the past few days. Yes, he’s still got it.
The 6-foot-4 shooting guard said he can still dunk — “just a basic dunk,” he said — and he can still shoot. So, it follows he may be able to plant some basketball passion into what will be an inexperienced Wildcats team.
Dreher played at Oklahoma State University for one season, then three years at Cal.
What followed was a hobnob collection of playing and coaching experiences that took him to places such as Panama and Iceland and Louisiana, where for the past 10 years he was a high school boys basketball coach.
“It’s kind of always been a dream of mine, in the back of my mind, that if I was ever able, if there a right time, I could bring back some of the knowledge I was fortunate to get,” Dreher said. “And now I’m settling down, I have my family here, I’m moving to Fruita, and I’m excited.”
Dreher, who will teach at the high school (it hasn’t been determined what subject he’ll teach, Fruita Monument Athletic Director Denny Squibb said) replaces Dave Fox, who led the Fruita boys to a 29-1 record in the Southwestern League the past three seasons.
Fox coached Dreher at Fruita Middle School.
“I know he’s working hard already, getting to know these kids,” Fox said. “I think he’ll be a real good leader.”
And Squibb coached Dreher from 1986 to 1988 at Fruita Monument High School. The team made the final four twice and the final eight once.
“He was an all-American,” Squibb said, “the best player I’ve ever coached.”
After high school, Dreher played a year at Oklahoma State University, then transferred to Cal before playing overseas.
Notably, in three seasons coaching the Catholic High boys basketball team in New Iberia, La., Dreher’s Panthers went 64-34 and won consecutive district championships in 2007 and 2008, reaching the quarterfinals of the 2008 state playoffs.
Upon leaving the school in 2009 to coach boys basketball at St. Louis Catholic School in Lake Charles, La., The Daily Iberian wrote an article about Dreher’s departure.
The most recent of the online story’s 33 comments, written by “Anonymous,” read: “coach dreher was an amazing man. He was funny and he was a great coach. He made all of us laugh ... my freshman year was the best because of him. I cried to watch him go! ): “
Perhaps Dreher will have the same effect on players at Fruita.
He certainly brings experience. Dreher figures he has coached more than 350 games in high school, college and professional leagues.
“I still play, but I don’t play all the time,” Dreher said. “But I can still beat all the kids.”
Which he thinks is important.
“There is still some open-gym time where I get a chance to show kids, ‘Look, this is how you do it,’ ” Dreher said in matter-of-act, humble tone. “So, when I’m playing pickup games against them, they understand coach isn’t just telling us something. He’s still got it.”