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Conway has been Arrowhead staple

Longtime AHS assistant plays a big role

Feb. 20, 2013

He's worked with three different head coaches. He's coached more than 1,000 basketball players in a span of 35 years. When it comes to the Arrowhead boys basketball program, Dave Conway has been something special.

In a career that started back in 1978, Conway has put in more time in the sport than any other coach in school history. And even though he retired from teaching math at the school three years ago, he's still going strong on the basketball court. Conway has been one of head coach Craig Haase's assistants ever since he took the job 13 years ago.

"As soon as I found out that I got the head coaching job, my first call was to my wife and my second call was to DaveConway," Haase said. "I knew right away that I wanted Dave on my staff. I wanted Dave to be part of what we wanted to build. He was one of my coaches when I played at Arrowhead, and he had a huge influence on me, both on the court and in life. I had him as a teacher and a coach. So, now, being one of my assistants, we have a unique relationship. We've had some success over the years and a lot of that goes right back to Dave working with us."

In fact, Conway has taught and coached the other two varsity assistants on the Arrowhead staff as well: Jim LaVoi and John Hoch.

"He's one of the classiest guys that I have ever met," said Hoch, a former standout for the Warhawks and at Carroll University. "No matter what he does, he's totally dedicated. When I was playing, he was always there to rebound for me after practice if I wanted to do some extra shooting. That's the kind of passion he has for the game. He does whatever it takes to put the kids into a position to succeed. Now that I'm coaching with him, I'm even more appreciative of all the things he's helped me with. He's just a great guy."

Conway, 57, has had a long run at Arrowhead. After graduating from D.C. Everest in Schofield and then earning his teaching degree at San Diego State, he landed his first job teaching math at Arrowhead. That same year he joined the boys basketball staff of coach Greg Smith, working with the freshmen and jayvees for 10 years.

When Smith resigned, Conway moved up to be a varsity assistant for new coach Ken Hady. For two years Haase, and LaVoi played under the tutelage of Hady and Conway.

Some time away

When Hady left the program, Conway took off for 12 years. But once Haase got the job and called Conway, the longtime sports enthusiast returned to the hardwood.

"When coach Haase called me, I told him I would love to join his staff," Conway said. "I enjoy everything about coaching. I love the practices. I'm just amazed at how hard the kids work at the game and how they accept the challenges that we give them. I'm having a lot of fun."

Over the years, Conway says the biggest changes in the sport he loves so dearly has been with the players themselves.

"The guys who play today are in such better physical condition than they were when I started coaching 35 years ago," Conway said. "They're stronger, faster and can jump higher. They have more places to go to work out."

Haase said Conway's composure on the bench is another big positive he brings on game night to the program. There's no hollering or screaming. Just a lot of soft-spoken common sense.

"Dave is a calming influence on all of us," Haase said. "When myself or the other coaches or players get a little too wound up, he's there's to get us back down."

Conway's specialty with the Warhawks is working with the big guys inside and also setting up the presses on defense. He also runs a lot of the open gyms and helps tutor all of the players, from the freshmen to the seniors, in math.

"Dave is a class human being more than he is a coach," Haase said. "He's just a great person that wants to help kids be successful. He has great relationships with the players. He has the ability to make them believe that what we're teaching them is right."

Sounds like a keeper.

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