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The Sideline Antics of Dick Flick

December 17, 1994

MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) _ Jeff Fick keeps a straight face when he sees his basketball coach crumpling to the floor, giving an exasperated expression or wildly waving his arms during games.

His coach is Morehead State’s Dick Fick, the person the late Jim Valvano made famous several years ago on ESPN with the ″Dick Fick Award″ for animated behavior during games.

He also is Jeff’s father.

″I usually don’t see him do things except in news clips on TV about the games,″ said Jeff, a walk-on freshman guard for the Eagles. ″I’m usually into the game too much to notice what he’s doing.

″I try not to laugh, but I think they’re funny.″

Even his mother, April, enjoys seeing Dad go through the sideline antics.

″We’ll joke with each other about the different things,″ said Jeff. ″The whole family will talk about it. My dad usually doesn’t see it, but me and Mom will watch it on TV and laugh about it.″

April can be seen at practices wearing a blue-and-gold Morehead warmup suit or checking up on the players at study hall.

″I’m like the team mom,″ she said.

The basketball arena is the Ficks’ home away from home.

″Basketball has really been a family thing,″ April said. ″Dick and I were married young so we’ve grown together with this whole thing. Even the first head coaching job, I feel like its my job.″

When she missed a practice in preseason, Flick asked her why she wasn’t there.

″I told him I didn’t know it was my job to come to practice,″ she said. ″But I enjoy it. I get to know the players and I understand more of what Dick goes through during the day. It makes it easier when he comes home at night and wants to talk about it.″

They also have a daughter, Kylie, who lives in Columbus, Ohio. She attends as many practices, scrimmages and games as she can to be with the family.

Jeff has been his father’s road companion since he was in the sixth grade.

″Very rarely in this business do you get a chance to be with your kid like that,″ said Dick Fick, 42, who is in his fourth season at Morehead State. ″That’s really something that’s been special. He’s the best friend I have other than my wife.″

Because Jeff has been at his father’s side, he didn’t play basketball in high school. He participated at a different level.

″I’ve seen it all for years,″ Jeff said. ″I would come to practice and watch the plays and see how it’s done. My whole life I’ve always played. The competition is a lot tougher but through seeing it all I’ve gotten smarter and know how to do certain things that keep me in the game.″

Jeff has appeared in four of seven games, scoring two points, committing two fouls and one turnover, and handing out one assist in 16 minutes.

″I was nervous the first time sitting at the scorer’s table waiting to get in, but once I got in I did what I could to help the team,″ he said.

The Ficks don’t believe the coach-player roles will strain the father-son relationship.

″I told him to yell at my boy,″ joked April. ″He hollers at everybody and for Jeff to be part of the team, that’s part of the game. He’s going to have to get used to that.″

Jeff believes it will make them grow closer.

″He’s hard on me on the floor but he’s not harder,″ he said. ″He doesn’t take any special attention toward me. I get to see the other side of him.″

Dick expects undivided loyalty from his son.

″Usually the 12th or 13th guy can be pretty disloyal and can really hurt you,″ he said. ″He has no chance of doing that. I bought the car, the car is in my name and I paid the tuition. So I don’t have any problem that he’ll be the most loyal son of a gun in the basketball program.″

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