Their names are on no plaques, in no halls of fame; nor will they ever be. Their accomplishments grace few, if any, record books.
The teacher has been left behind but not forgotten.
Georgetown's John Thompson remembers Kermit Trigg as "probably someone who made as much an impression as anyone." Gary Green, the coach of the Washington Capitals, thinks of Doug Dutton and says, "In a lot of ways, I pattern myself after him."
For each Lefty Driesell, the Maryland coach, there is a Paddy Doran, who first got Driesell to play basketball. Or a Red Crum, who helped set up a basketball league so that George Washington's basketball coach, Bob Tallent, could develop his diamond skills.
Behind every good coach there was, long ago, another coach.
Growing up in Tillsonburg, Ontario, Green started hockey when he was 6. Dutton, a schoolteacher, coached Green in Peewee and Bantam leagues.
"An incredible man," Green says. "He understood kids extremely well. He knew how to have fun with them and he could get an incredible amount out of myself and out of the team.
"Maybe he gave me a foundation I wasn't aware of," Green says.
Dutton never married. His teams were his vast family.
Driesell liked football and baseball. Basketball? "I always thought it was a sissies' game," he says. But in Norfolk, there was Paddy's League, founded by Doran, a railroad man who was commissioner and owned all the teams. fAnd if you were a tall kid of 10 or 11, as Driesell was, you played basketball in Paddy's League.
"I wasn't interested," Drisell says, "but I said I'd try it."
Driesell was assigned to a team called the Celtics, which was coached by Doran. Driesell says Doran taught him how to shoot a layup.
Kids, says Driesell, "were sort of like Doran's hobby. He was sort of a sad guy. I kind of felt sorry for him. He didn't have a family. It was just his job and the basketball league. But we had bright uniforms. Paid officials. It was his way of helping young kids.
"I fell in love the game," Driesell said.
Cristoval, Tex., is so small that there were no youth leagues for Jack Pardee. His firt encounter with organized sports came at age 15 under G.W. Tillerson, the high school football and baseball coach.
Cristoval played only six-man football. But Pardee says Tillerson knew the game. "He stressed all the basics," Pardee says. "Fundamentals, curfews, teamwork, rules. He had a real sincere feeling toward all of us. He liked the players, he enjoyed them and they, in turn, would do anything for him."
Tallent was a good 9-year-old pitcher in Langley, Ky., a town with no baseball team.
So Tallent's father and Crum, an ex-minor league catcher turned coal miner, organized a team for youths with Crum as coach.
Crum had children, but none on the team, Tallent recalls. "He was just interested in helping people."
Tallent says that Crum taught him that, "You have to be a gentleman when you lose. You don't have to like it . . . just say to yourself that it won't happen again."
Like Driesell,Thompson preferred baseball. It wasn't until the age of 14, under the guidance of Trigg, a physical education instructor at Brown Junior High, that Thompson took basketball seriously.
"He taught us that athletics is supposed to be more than recreation or recognition," Thompson says. "It was the form of security I needed. He gave us an identity through athletics and he said you have to do things other than athletics to be successful."