Five Questions for Tom Dineen

by John Ring

Tom Dineen's record of success at Buffalo Grove virtually mirrors that of Evan Massey's accomplishments in Galesburg. Both basketball coaches have over 500 career victories, both of their teams routinely win over 20 games a year and both are consistently ranked in the Class AA field.

The night before the Streak-Bison matchup, Buffalo Grove hosted Hersey before a full house and won. ''They're our big rival,'' said Dineen. ''We played a good game. We like to run the court, we're a well-balanced scoring team. When we run the court and play together as a team, we're fun to watch.''

To say the two programs are similar is an understatement. You could swap out Dineen's answers to the following five questions and substitute Evan Massey's name and the answer applies to both teams.

Dineen's Bison won the state championship in 2000. That was a year that featured a balanced field-- any of five or six teams could have won it all, including Galesburg. Buffalo Grove edged Chicago Washington in overtime. The Streaks lost to Washington earlier that same day.

What's the secret to the success of the Buffalo Grove program?

''Our program isn't for everybody. I'm pretty demanding of the kids. What's happened is the kids have bought into our basketball program here. They worked hard all summer long. It really takes a special kid to be involved in our program. Plus, kids are more specialized these days. There used to be three-sport athletes and there's not many left. That's a good news, bad news thing but it's true.''

What kind of feeder system do you have here from the junior high schools?

''I don't have a lot of contact with the junior highs myself. We put together an AAU summer team for the sixth, seventh and eights graders and we play about 30 ballgames every summer. We're fortunate in that we get great parental support. But when they come out here, they have a good understanding of what's expected of them and I have a pretty good understanding of their talent.''

Good as your team is year in and year out, it's a battle to get out of the Sectionals isn't it?

''Yes it is. This is a pretty congested area of good basketball teams and programs. It seems like we play the same teams over and over again. That's why I'm glad a team like Galesburg is here today. We get to see a good team and someone different.''

How did this two-year series come about?

''I've admired the Galesburg program over the years. They've had a lot of success at state and Evan and I became friends over the years and kept in touch. There's a lot of mutual respect. We have a hard time finding quality teams that want to play us and I know it's the same way for Galesburg down there. So we kept in touch and figured we could work in a Saturday game and it's come through. You just don't get any better playing easy teams.''

A lot's said about the suburban schools and the downstate schools competing at two different levels. How would the Silver Streaks compete up here on a nightly basis?

''They would do very well up here. They have competed at state and they come up here every summer and more than hold their own.''

Uploaded to The Zephyr website December 23, 2002

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