Pontiac Notre Dame boys basketball coach Whitney Robinson and Dearborn Divine Child coach Andy Dold stood on Prep’s home floor sharing laughs and stories while their respective teams warmed up Jan. 18.
“Before the game, we were laughing and joking. We’re buddies. Andy is one of my best friends. Then we realized it was two minutes before tip off,” Robinson remembered. “I told him I wanted him to do well, but not too well. It was surreal, but fun.”
This was the first meeting between the two teams. Dold has led the Divine Child program for six years, but this is Robinson’s first at Prep.
After getting back to their respective benches, Prep eventually won the game 47-41.
“It’s always more fun when you win, but it was a good game. It went down to the wire,” Robinson said.
Robinson and Dold have been on the same court countless times, but usually wearing the same uniform, as both are Detroit natives and graduated from Harper Woods Notre Dame in 1998. They also both starred for a talented Fighting Irish basketball squad.
Robinson, now a West Bloomfield resident, led the Irish in scoring his senior season.
They both went on to play at the next level. Robinson played two years at Eastern Kentucky University and then two seasons with Central Michigan University, while Dold, a Detroit resident, played at Wayne State University.
Currently, Robinson is a financial planner and Dold is director of technology at Divine Child.
“He could, obviously, score and was way better than me, to be honest,” Dold said of his friend. “But he was one of the best on-the-ball defenders that I had ever seen. The fact was, we needed him to shoot to win.”
The now-defunct Class B Harper Woods Notre Dame squad won district championships all three seasons Robinson and Dold played varsity together.
“I probably shot more than I should have,” Dold joked. “I look back and think, ‘Why were we shooting so many 3s? What was wrong with us?’”
Robinson had a similar memory.
“I would dare to say that Andy was the second-leading scorer. He was the John Stockton. He wasn’t flashy — a great shooter, and he took care of the ball and made the right decisions. Looking back, I think he shot too much, too,” Robinson said with a laugh. “No, we had great chemistry and played really well together.”
The meeting was part of a whirlwind 48 hours for Dold. He and his wife, Kyle, welcomed their first child, Brayden, the previous day.
“We were really excited about it. The due date for the baby was the day of the game, so not only was I stressed about playing Whitney the last five months, but also possibly not being able to go to the game,” Dold said. “I went back to the hospital that night. It was bad enough losing, but then I had to sleep on a chair.”
With both teams in the Catholic High School League AA Division, the friends expect to see each other quite often — on and off the court. Their next battle is at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at Divine Child.
At press time, Prep was 4-2 in the division and Divine Child was 0-5.
“It’s already a rivalry in the making, just being in the Catholic League, seeing every team twice or maybe more a year,” Robinson said.
The game also gained the attention of a wider audience. Both said that old teammates and coaches were on hand to take in the contest.
“Going forward, it’ll be something cool. A Harper Woods Notre Dame basketball reunion once or twice a year,” Dold said.