OK, so maybe it’s not Mission: Impossible. And Dillon Faver isn’t Ethan Hunt. But still, it’s quite the task to follow a legendary coach.
“Replacing John Dyer is just impossible,” said the 30-year-old Faver, who took over as the new boys’ basketball coach at Sullivan East last week. “The man, leader and person he has been for the community, the players and me, he has impacted so many lives. He’s irreplaceable.”
Dyer, who put 32 years in the books on East’s bench, announced his retirement from his positions as athletic director and basketball coach earlier this school year. And just as folks who know Dyer would expect, he left Faver with a treasure trove of talent. No bare cupboards here. The Patriots are expected to be among the area’s best teams in 2020-21 with returning players like Dylan Bartley, Ethan Bradford and Mason Montgomery.
Of course, that adds quite a simmer to the nearly boiling water Faver is ready to test.
“There is unbelievable pressure,” said Faver. “We definitely have high expectations. All kinds of emotions hit me when I think about it — excitement, nervous. It’s a little bit scary. But if it’s not scary, it’s not a great enough goal.”
No worries, though, said Dyer. Faver is ready for the challenge.
“He has been with us for eight years and has done everything I asked him to do,” said Dyer. “He has grown up as a coach. He’s a guy who is always asking questions and wants things to get better. He’s a student of the game, and he’s a leader of young men. He’s like a son to me.”
Faver not only coached under Dyer since 2012, he played for him from 2004-08.
“His impact on my life has been unmeasurable,” said Faver. “He is a good man, a good Christian, and has a positive influence on young men.
“I can’t thank him enough for how he has mentored and molded me. He has been a father figure, teacher and coach to me. I will try to take what he taught me and use it to give these guys 100 percent.”
Faver also pointed to East’s loyal fans for helping him navigate the path to head coach.
“I am so thankful for Patriot Nation and the love they have given me,” he said. “They showered me with prayers, and they have accepted me.”
Faver said he expects the Patriots to continue the 3-point/layup attack that landed last season’s squad as the second-most prolific behind-the-arc attack in state history. East made 377 treys.
“We have great shooters on our team,” said Faver. “And we have guys who can get to the rim. And obviously I’ve been around Coach Dyer a long time, so his philosophy has rubbed off on me.”
And Faver said he believes Sullivan East is where he is supposed to be. Things fell into place after he graduated from King College.
“I got a call from Coach Dyer, and there was a math position and a coaching position at East,” said Faver. “It was one of those perfect situations of God’s timing.”