USC Upstate men’s basketball coach Dave Dickerson will begin coaching the team virtually effective immediately due to family health concerns surrounding COVID-19. Upstate vice chancellor and director of athletics Daniel Feig made the announcement today.
“Coach Dickerson came to me with concerns that both he and Laurette’s doctors have in regard to her being exposed to COVID-19. Quite simply, the risk is too high, and we began exploring other ways he could remain leading our program while not being in face-to-face contact with student-athletes and staff. This was an excruciatingly difficult decision for Dave to make, and Interim Chancellor Cole and I support him unequivocally in his decision,” said Feig.
“I am fully committed to the success of Upstate Men’s Basketball. However, the health of my wife is my greatest priority. I will continue to make every effort to lead our program in the most effective way given these unprecedented circumstances. I love my team and I love the direction that our program is heading. I have a great deal of confidence in our team’s leadership and fully expect them to take on this challenge and move forward. I truly grateful to Daniel Feig, Interim Chancellor Cole and the entire USC Upstate family for their support,” said Dickerson.
Operationally, Dickerson will continue to lead the program and meet daily with coaches and student-athletes, albeit in a virtual manner. However, he will not coach the team during games or at practice. Dickerson, with the support of Feig, has named assistant coach Stacey Palmore as the acting head coach who will lead the team during practices and games. The exact duration of how long Dickerson will lead in this fashion will be periodically evaluated over the coming months.
“I have an outstanding coaching staff that is well equipped to take on this challenge. Although Stacey will be the acting head coach, Dr. Ron Bradley’s wealth of knowledge and experience will continue to serve the program. I know that he, Stacey and Drew Garcia will make this a seamless transition for our players. I am confident that they are up to the challenge and I appreciate their loyalty to me, our players and our great university,” said Dickerson.
“I admire Dave for putting his family first in this unprecedented situation. With that said, I know how much he loves his team and I appreciate the fact that he’ll continue to lead his program on a daily basis, through the ups and downs of what I’m certain will be a memorable season. As such, this is not a traditional leave of absence situation. Dave remains the leader of our men’s basketball program, just not in face-to-face settings. It is important to him and his staff to see our student-athletes compete and succeed, and I have every expectation that he will lead us to that success,” noted Feig.
The Spartans will begin the 2020-21 regular season on Wednesday, November 25 at 2:00 p.m. hosting Southern Wesleyan inside the Eddie and Ann Payne Arena at the G. B. Hodge Center.