CRETE — One of Nebraska’s favorite native sons made his way back to Wilber this weekend to celebrate Czech Days as he always does.
This time was a little different, however. He decided to take some time to talk X’s and O’s at the college he grew up 11 miles away from before dancing to some polka in the streets.
Oregon coach Dana Altman, who’s fresh off a Final Four berth with the Ducks, was the headline speaker at the annual Doane Coaches' Clinic held at the George and Sally Haddix Recreation and Athletic Center on Doane’s campus.
“It’s always great to get back and see the family, especially when we have the Czech Festival going on,” said Altman.
“Coach (Ian McKeithen) had asked me to come back, and it’s hard to line things up sometimes, but with the Czech Days going on it just worked out perfect. I had backup plan if I couldn’t make, my assistant is up in Omaha, it but the timing was right.”
The weather fit the bill for the seven-year Oregon coach on Saturday. The rain on the roof echoed throughout gym as a number of coaches from around the state took notes on everything from Altman’s spread offense to his philosophy on illegal screens.
Of course there were stories as well. That time Udonis Haslem owned his then Creighton Blue Jays in the 2002 NCAA Tournament or how he decided to leave Kansas State and go to Creighton for health reasons.
“Yeah, they were sick of me in Manhattan,” Altman said with a laugh.
Altman bestowed his wisdom for over an hour using Doane’s incoming players and local high school kids to simulate different offensive sets. He also took time to weigh in on shot clocks — he thinks Nebraska should use them in the high school game — and illegal picks, which he believes every team gets away with.
The event also featured Nebraska-Omaha men's coach Derrin Hansen alongside Dan Moore from Papillion-La Vista and Doane men’s coach Ian McKeithen.
“This was kind of unique situation where I had heard Coach Altman comes back for Czech Days, so I got his number and reached out to him,” McKeithen said. “We were fortunate to get him for an hour, and then we really branched out with Coach Hansen. We’re just hoping to build on this event every year and make it a must-see.”
There was only one thing left to talk about after Altman’s segment at the clinic, that big football game between Oregon and Nebraska on Sept. 9.
“It will be interesting to see how our guys handle that game, it’s only our second game but there’s a lot of momentum with Coach Taggart taking over,” Altman said.
“Hopefully the Ducks will be ready to go.”