It’s always great to be recognized for your achievements. Robert “Dondi” DeShields will be honored for his coaching exploits at Community College of Philadelphia. DeShields will be inducted into the Philadelphia Area Small College Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
He will be inducted along with Dennis Stanton, former Ursinus College first-team All-American and Bob Heller, the longtime sports information director at the University of the Sciences and a member of the association’s executive board for the past 13 seasons. The induction ceremony will take place at the association’s annual dinner on March 18.
“I’m so elated,” DeShields said. “I’m so excited about going in the hall of fame. I had a great time coaching there. I had a chance to work with some wonderful kids over the years. It’s nice to be recognized by the Small College Coaches. The hall of fame has a lot of great people in there.”
DeShields is currently an assistant coach at Delaware County Community College. However, he spent 13 years as CCP head coach (1999–2012), compiling a terrific 333-80 record for a .806 winning percentage. During his career at CCP, DeShields’ teams won six Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Association (PCAA) state championships and eight Eastern Pennsylvania Athletic Association (EPCC) regional titles.
In 2007, DeShields became the first African-American coach to earn PCAA Coach of the Year honors, a title he claimed again in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He was honored as the Sam Cozen Philadelphia Area Small College Coach of the Year by the association in 2007, an honor he shared with University of the Sciences head coach Dave Pauley. DeShields earned eight EPCC Coach of the year awards.
DeShields really stressed academics in his basketball program. His players had to perform on and off the court.
“I spent 22 years at Community,” he said. “Thirteen of them were as head coach. It’s all about relationships. We had some great players who came through those doors and went on to four years schools like Jason Blake, Rasheed Brinkley and Tyreece Brown.
“That’s why I feel good about going into the hall of fame. It’s relationships like Sonny Hill, Bobby Lewis, Tee Parham and so many people. I worked under coaches like Howard Hornstein, Dr. Wayne Gibbons and Larry Conti. I had some great assistants like Ed Geiger. He worked with me at Community. He played for Cheyney. He was a big help to me.”
DeShields grew up in South Philadelphia. He played basketball for Mitch Schneider at Southern. He played a lot of basketball at some legendary venues such as Marian Anderson Recreation Center and Christian Street YMCA.
He developed a strong grassroots knowledge of the game. DeShields has been a long time member of the association, which has done a great job spreading the word about small college basketball.
“It’s a great organization,” DeShields said. “It provides a lot of exposure to the small colleges. It gives them a platform to talk about their schools.”
For more information on the ceremony and banquet, contact the University of Sciences athletic office at (215) 895-3133.