There are a lot of crazy recruiting stories in college basketball, but there aren’t many coaches who have looked at a 38-year-old man who weighed 380 pounds and thought, “Now there’s a college basketball player.”
Yet that’s exactly what Trevor Costello, coach of Algonquin College in Ontario, Canada, did when he saw Dan Stoddard playing in an alumni basketball tournament in the middle of nowhere.
From the Ottawa Citizen:
A hint was dropped and it set Dan Stoddard on a mission, the fulfilment of a dream he’d set aside in high school. “C’mon. I’m 38 years old, going to be 39 in November. I’m absolutely out of my mind, right?”
Yes, 38 and, at the time, six feet, eight inches tall and weighing 380 pounds, with a full-time job at OC Transpo, two teenage kids at home and a house in Russell that needed new siding.
Stoddard — teammates call him Old Man Dan — whipped himself into shape, dropped 60 pounds, and now finds himself setting picks, boxing out, rotating on defense, doing all the cerebral old-man stuff, sometimes scoring a basket.
“We played an exhibition game against last year’s national champs,” he said Wednesday, cooling down after practice. “I scored a basket, they called out my name (on a loud speaker) and I could have cried on the floor.”
Some of Stoddard’s teammates thought he was one of the coach’s friends when he showed up the first day of practice. But no, he takes online classes, and is in every way an actual college basketball player, even with his graying hair and teenage children.
“After every practice, he’s always thanking me, saying, ‘Thanks for letting me live my dream,'” said the coach.