My Impossible Dream is a testament to the impact one person has on the lives of many, to the tremendous good one can bring about whatever the chosen path, to the responsibility each of us carries to make a positive difference in this world.
Do they still make men like Chuck Randall? He was a solid strength of character, holding to his principles, enforcing no drinking and no smoking among his players. His rules were as much a challenge then as they are now and contributed to his incredible wins on the basketball courts.
But what mattered most was the respect he gave his players as individuals and as equal partners on the team. They were all one, working toward the same goal, no one more important than another, each fully supporting the other and giving his all. It is no wonder that the respect he gave returned to him a hundredfold.
Legendary basketball coach Chuck Randall, the inventor of the collapsible basketball rim, was the 2008 recipient of the Eastern Washington University Athletics Hall of Fame Service and Contribution Award. The 1951 graduate of Eastern went on to coach 18 years at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., and eventually authored a book called “My Impossible Dream.”
Randall grew up in Spokane and graduated from Central Valley High School. He graduated from Eastern in 1951 and went on to become a high school coach. He eventually spent 18 years as head coach from 1963-81 at Western Washington University where he compiled a 274-183 record.
His 1971-72 Viking team posted a best-ever 26-4 mark, reaching the quarterfinal round of the NAIA National Tournament. His many honors included NAIA Area I Coach of the Year (1972), NAIA District 1 Coach of the Year (1966, 1971, 1972) and Evergreen Conference Coach of the Year (1966, 1971, 1972, 1975).
In addition, he directed the Western baseball team to two national tournament appearances, with the Vikings placing fifth nationally in 1964 and eighth in 1965. He was elected to the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1985, and was selected as WWU’s Men’s Coach of the Century (1900-1999) in 1999. He is also a member of the Washington State Basketball Coaches and Western Washington University Athletics halls of fame.
In all, he won nearly 500 games total in 35 years of coaching basketball. But his contribution to the game didn’t stop there.
After beating Eastern Washington 61-60 in Bellingham late in the 1974-75 season, Eastern head coach Jerry Krause showed Randall that the rim was bent.
Three days later, Randall suffered a severe heart attack that forced him to sit out a season to recover. During that year, he began tinkering with a collapsible rim and he eventually marketed the “Slam Dunk” rim for a short time before selling the business. Others introduced similar products at the same time and also claim recognition as the inventors.
Besides his rim invention, Randall founded the first basketball camp west of the Appalachian Mountains. Randall was known as a “Coaches Coach” with one-third of his players at Western going on to coach at schools throughout the Pacific Northwest.