They were two wins. Two ugly wins. Two ugly wins over bad teams. But they were wins six and seven on the season, wins 24 and 25 in the nation's best conference winning streak and wins three and four in the Ivy League. That's important. They also happened to be wins 200 and 201 in the coaching career of Fran Dunphy. To the Quakers head man, that's not important. "It's not something that drives me," Dunphy said after becoming the second coach in Penn history to reach 200 wins when the Quakers topped Yale on Friday. "It's not that big a deal, it really isn't. At this point, we're 3-0 in the league, which I'm grateful for. We have six total wins, and I wished we had more. We're talking about this year. That's all we're talking about." Every once and a while, though, it's nice to stop and recognize a milestone that celebrates more than just what happened that night. That's what Penn athletic officials were thinking when they placed a congratulatory cake on the coaches' table just before Dunphy walked into the post-game press conference. There was nothing spectacular about that Yale game. The Quakers emerged with a victory, but as they have all season, they struggled with their consistency. Dunphy is obviously concerned with his team's problems. When he walked into the media room on Friday, though, a smile emerged from under that famous mustache. Athletic Director Steve Bilsky and a host of other officials stood and clapped as Dunphy entered the room. "That's very cute," the coach said. "Thank you very much." It was clear that win 200 was no sweeter for Dunphy than win 199 or win 201. He joked about how it could have come earlier, especially with Penn's early season struggles this year. But he has no time to reflect on being in position to pass Lon Jourdet (227 wins) as Penn's all-time winningest coach next season. He has a job to do -- get Penn into a third consecutive NCAA Tournament. The wins are nice, but when Dunphy gets talking, you learn what's important. From recording that first win over Lehigh on November 25, 1989, up until Saturday night's triumph over Brown, he knows it is the people who have contributed to those wins that stand out. "I've been blessed with a lot of really good kids that I've coached," Dunphy said. "I didn't make a jumper, didn't get a rebound, didn't have any turnovers either. "It has nothing to do with me, but with a bunch of kids who have been just great to be around. It's been a phenomenal experience." It was a nice moment on Friday, not unlike the one a few weeks ago when a teary-eyed Steve Donahue walked into the press conference after Penn had beaten his Cornell squad. That night, Donahue told himself he would not get emotional when he returned to the place where he had been an assistant for 10 seasons. That went straight out the window as soon as he walked into the Palestra. Friday was similar. People were trying to make a big deal out of something that was not important to Dunphy. But as soon as they got him talking, they found the real meaning of the milestone. Later in the press conference, somebody asked Dunphy about how Yale kept the game close. He answered the question and started talking about shot selection, including some of Lamar Plummer's decisions. Then Dunphy looked to Plummer, who was sitting to his right, and spoke of how proud he was at how Plummer has developed as a player, but more importantly as a person. Over the past 12 years, not one of those wins has mattered as much to Dunphy as interacting with his players. The press conference ended, and Dunphy had to get ready for Brown. It was a nice moment, but it was just that -- a moment. Fran Dunphy has 201 wins in his career. But he doesn't care about that. As he said, "we're talking about this year." This year is still happening, and Dunphy needs to prepare for number 202.Comments powered by Disqus
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