Like a father, like a son

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 31, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

It’s funny how things work out.

Nine years ago, Winston Williams and Brent Dukhie didn’t have anything in common except that their grandfathers enjoyed going to the racetrack together.

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When Williams brought in his first class of soccer players at Concordia College in 1999, he didn’t know he was bringing along his eventual prot&g& and successor.

He also didn’t think he, like his grandfather, would be gaining a lifelong friend.

“He was my first captain with my first group of players,” said Williams, now the coach at Marion Military Institute. “I appointed him captain much to the protest of the rest of the kids. Now, they agree my selection was good. Brent knows the game very well. He’s a student of the game; he plays it well.

“He’s almost like a son to me.”

Unlike most student-teacher matchups, however, Dukhie has never had to learn from defeat at the hands of his mentor.

The Tigers have a young program, and they had never beaten the Hornets.

“It’s exciting, and at the same time I call it a friendly rivalry,” Dukhie said. “We talk about it. This is their second year with a team. They’re gaining experience, so hopefully that never changes.”

Williams said his coaching style didn’t really rub off on his pupil.

Although Dukhie goes about things his own way, there are still some things they do similarly.

“He takes care of his players, just as I take care of mine,” Williams said. “He’s involved in all areas of their life, like academics and things like that. I’m 67-years-old. I’m not looking to go anywhere, but it’s my hope that he one day coaches on a national team. I know I’ll do everything to help him do that.”

To go from coaching a small college to guiding his countrymen is no small leap for Dukhie.

His aspirations, like those of Williams, are high. His first job is to create as successful an atmosphere as possible in Selma.

“It depends on the team’s success and building,” Dukhie said. “I’m trying to bring Concordia along. Soccer is not a predominant sport in Selma. That’s one of the biggest challenges.”