Disinterest in celebrating himself makes Webster more worthy - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Disinterest in celebrating himself makes Webster more worthy

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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:07 pm | Updated: 1:45 pm, Thu Aug 8, 2013.

Thursday night went the way it should have, which also means his 700th career win was celebrated with and consumed by all the things that makes Highland coach Miner Webster cringe.

The school, its administration and district had already gotten the proverbial ball rolling days ago with preparations. Then the congratulatory emails started rolling into Webster's inbox Wednesday, even though he didn't win his 700th career girls basketball game until Thursday night's 44-21 win against Mesquite.

An inevitability to everyone else. A scary "omen" to Webster.

The entrance to Highland's gym was turned into a trophy table, with the six state championships won at Highland joined by Gilbert's two golden basketballs for the night from Webster's five years at the school.  Blank pieces of black paper were left next to the hardware for whomever wanted to write a note to Webster.

Three East Valley girls basketball coaching ambassadors, Karen Self (Seton Catholic) and Tyler Dumas (Dobson) were in tow. Self, who's probably next to get this far with an 83 percent win rate still has 174 more wins to go, but they carried giant construction signs for Webster.

Dumas: "I added 10 wins to the total."

Self: "He got 7 from me."

Desert Ridge's Kerri O'Connor: "Don't forget my 5."

Already internally grousing about his team's play on offense most of the night - the bright red face is a giveaway - Webster sheepishly returned to center court after the Hawks' 44-21 victory over Mesquite.

He received a throwback Highland No. 20 jersey from when the school opened for his 20 years. January 17 was decreed "Miner Webster Day" by the City of Gilbert. Gilbert school district superintendent Dave Allison spoke, his daughter a former player for Webster and current longtime assistant Steve Erwin in the mid-1990s.

Then Webster managed to get through a few words in front of the standing crowd. Laughs ensued when someone shouted "800!" and Webster immediately followed those cheers with a reminder his team has to win No. 701 first.

Dozens of hugs, handshakes and photos ensued, including with his 90-year-young father, and snapshots with at least a hundred combined current and former players; a few of whom now have kids of their own.

"The only numbers I'm concerned with is how many kids through the years have succeeded in life after coming through here," he said 20 minutes later.

He couldn't escape a night that was for him, about him and because of him.

"I tried," he said.

For those counting, these 700 wins have occurred at an 87 percent clip and an average of 28 wins per season in 24-plus seasons.

Either way it's mind-numbing to slice and dice them:  20 wins per season for 35 years.  Or 35 wins per year for 20 years.

"I'm so glad it's over," he said, his feet leaving him in agony from standing most of the game and nearly another hour beyond. "We can get back to all the things we need to work on. I've got plenty of notes to write down before I forget."

Miner and his minions will do just that with a game at Skyline on Friday. But though it ruined his "style," sometimes it's good to be reminded of where you stand in record books, and, more important, in the eyes of thousands you've reached through those 87 percent of games won, and the other 13 percent.

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