When Mel gets to the end of his long and impressive resume, most of which has to do with his success playing and coaching and writing about the game of basketball, you arrive at a larger truth about this 77-year-old Pennsylvania native. Which is, it hasn’t just been about the game of basketball. It’s really been about the game of life.
That game began back in eighth grade when Mel’s heart began to beat double-time over a pretty girl in his class named Joan who was noticeably taller than Mel, a shortcoming that lasted unill he’d shot up a good six inches by their junior year. When they’d finished college they got married and started out on their way through life. That was 57 years ago, and a whole lot has happened on their journey.
Mel was tall enough and good enough to play guard on his university’s basketball team, which turned out to be the jumping-off-place for a
long career as a basketball coach and faculty member at colleges in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Iowa.
He also wrote textbooks that have been used in 3,000 colleges and 25,000 high schools. Mel’s also found time for an
international speaking career and the energy to run basketball clinics around the country. Add the accolades, awards and appreciation that such a life deserves, and you’ve got the picture of Mel the Coach. But not the whole picture.
“It’s really been about all the wonderful relationships and friendships,” he says. “I’ve had great teachers who always stressed the importance of trying to see the best in people.”
“To this day,” Mel says, “many of the players I’ve coached, and all the people I’ve worked with and known through the years, they stay in touch, get me on the phone and we just talk, not always about basketball, but about life.”
The couple moved to the Indiana community of Westfield a few years ago in order to be near one of their sons and his family.
It was while playing board games with his grandchildren that he noticed “the kids were sometimes looking at me kind of funny.” Turns out, Mel chuckles, as can happen when you get older, “I seemed to be forgetting things here and there like when it was my move.”
This former elder and deacon in his church had also begun to notice small lapses in his memory as an active member of his Bible study group. “That requires interpretations of our sermons as well as memorizing readings from scripture,” he says, “and I was having a hard time with that. My memory didn’t feel quite as sharp as it once did.”
Mel turned to Prevagen to help support his memory, and soon noticed he was remembering better and thinking more clearly again. “Prevagen helped me have a little more clarity in those areas,” says this master of the round ball game, still the master of a long and loving life.