Dave Whiteside was many things. A passionate fan of motorcycles, music and the beach. A former basketball star turned coach. And a loving father to his son Cameron and his daughter Carly.
Although Whiteside died unexpectedly in late 2019 after dealing with complications of pneumonia, his legacy will live on through the Dave Whiteside Scholarship, which was recently awarded to its inaugural recipients, Makayla Hutchinson and Korin Mereste, a pair of seniors from Nauset Regional High School.
“Basketball-wise, he was huge fans of both of them,” said Carly Whiteside, a former Barnstable High basketball star who now plays for the University of Vermont women’s program. “He loved working with both of them and knew both of them as great people. He definitely placed more of an emphasis on that than anything.”
The scholarship is awarded to a player or players chosen by a selection committee that includes Carly and many of her father’s friends and coaching colleagues. The committee is searching for players who have consistently demonstrated hard work, dedication, commitment, teamwork, leadership and citizenship in addition to making basketball fun, elements Dave looked for in a player.
Carly said Hutchinson and Mereste had all of the traits her dad loved in a player and that made them the perfect recipients to each receive the $1,250 scholarship.
“When someone would bring up Makayla’s name, he’d say, ‘Oh, I just love her game,’” Carly said. “I can picture him saying that. Or he’d say, ‘Her all-around game is just so good. She’s a great teammate, she’s passing the ball, she wants to do good on defense and she’s someone you’d want on your team.’
“And then with Korin, he’d just rave about how she’s so quick and she can handle the ball yet she’s tall. She’s so versatile.”
Mereste will study mechanical engineering at Quinnipiac University where she’ll continue to play women’s basketball on a full scholarship. Hutchinson said she’ll study criminology at Stonehill College and has plans to try out for Stonehill’s hoops squad once she’s fully recovered from the knee injury she sustained while playing for Nauset this past season.
Although Mereste and Hutchinson played at Nauset and Carly Whiteside was a former Barnstable star, the trio played together for the Cape Cod Bulls AAU program under the guidance of Dave Whiteside, who was an assistant coach alongside head coach Noopy Teixeira.
“Dave was just always the person who was laughing and smiling,” Hutchinson said. “And Carly is the same way — she’s always cheering people up and always helping people. The Bulls was probably one of the best experiences I’ve had from a learning standpoint.”
“Dave was an amazing person,” added Mereste. “He was always there for anyone who needed him, whether it was a coach, a player or a friend. He was always down to work extra with you if you ever wanted to get extra shots up or work on anything specific. He was one of the greatest coaches I ever had. He was an amazing man and I loved him very much. Everyone did.”
Dave Whiteside’s youth was spent in New York and Florida, though it was at the University of North Carolina Greensboro where his basketball career took off. As a junior, he led the nation in free throw shooting after making 91 percent of his shots from the foul line. He later was inducted into UNCG’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.
Carly, who tallied more than 1,000 points during her high school career, said she learned plenty of X’s and O’s from her father.
“I never needed a basketball trainer or anything like that,” she said. “I lived with one. We’d work out in the driveway every single day and we were always shooting or dribbling the ball. The neighbors knew us as the crazy people who were always playing basketball.”
She insists some of his free throw shooting rubbed off on her, too.
“I like to think it’s pretty good,” Carly said. “My routine at the free throw line is a little similar to his. I’m trying to keep the Whiteside name proud.”
Carly said the goal is to continue the scholarship for decades to come. While future basketball players will learn about Dave’s legacy as a player, coach, father and friend, Mereste said it’s special to be one of the first recipients because she had a personal relationship with him.
“That brings a whole extra special feeling to it, just because we knew him personally and he did so much for us personally and the program,” she said. “It’s super cool to be the first two, but beyond just being the first two, I feel incredibly honored because we knew him and we know what he values.”
“I think having the scholarship continue for many years is a great way to keep his memory alive,” added Carly. “It’ll be a good way to get us all talking about him annually and to share stories and think about him. I think that’s something he’d be very proud of and honored by.”
Email Brad Joyal at email@example.com