January 29, 2020
$500K gift from anonymous donor recognizes the dedication of long-time girls’ ‘hoops guru,’ now in his 42nd year of coaching.
Fenwick High School on February 4 will dedicate The Power Locker Room, newly named for Dave Power, now in his 27th year at the helm of Frairs’ girls basketball. Power is Fenwick’s first and only girls’ basketball coach. He began leading Fenwick’s young women on the hardwood during the 1992-93 season, when the previously all-boys school went co-ed. A brief ceremony will precede the 7 p.m. game next Tuesday against highly ranked Evanston, which is coached by former Friars’ player Brittany Johnson ’05.
“Coach Power embodies the excellence for which Fenwick High School is known,” praises President Richard Peddicord, O.P. “It is a privilege to honor his commitment to our community with this dedication -- along with a corresponding, generous gift of $500,000. The donor family wishes to remain anonymous, but their gesture truly is heartfelt.”
Athletic Director Scott Thies, himself a Fenwick alumnus from the Class of 1999, adds: “Dave Power is a legend in high school basketball. Although he has nearly 1,000 wins [some 660 at Fenwick], three state championships [two at Fenwick], 16 ESCC championships, and has coached more than 50 Division 1 athletes, Coach’s influence goes beyond the basketball court,” Thies notes. “He has had a positive impact on so many young women who have gone on to be successful in life.”
A trio of Power alumnae played professional basketball (WNBA and internationally) and have their Fenwick jerseys retired. Another alumnus is the aforementioned Johnson, a former All-State guard from Chicago, who returns to her old gym as the fourth-year head coach at Evanston Township High School. (Her Wildkits (17-2, 7-0) are ranked No. 3 in Class 4A. The 2019-20 Friars come in with a record of 19-7, 3-3.) Johnson came to ETHS after a successful stint with the women’s basketball program at Kennedy-King College, Chicago. She turned around a program that went 3-21 the year before she arrived, leading the team to a 41-12 mark over two seasons and winning the conference championship each time. As a senior at Fenwick in 2004-05, she averaged 18 points, 6 rebounds and 5 steals for Coach Power, then went on to play at Boston College.
“I’m so happy for Brittany and her success,” says Power, Johnson’s former (and now opposing) coach, talking like a proud papa. “My entire coaching career has been about the development of athletes and the corresponding skills that lead to well-developed, young individuals.” Two players (forwards) from his last state-championship team – 6’2” Devereaux Peters (Notre Dame) and 6’0” Tricia Liston (Duke) -- were Ms. Basketball in Illinois and, later, first-round draft choices in the WNBA. “What I take the most pride in, however, is the people they have become off the court.”
Power’s Career Coaching Highlights
- 42 years of coaching high school girls’ basketball: 27 at Fenwick (1992-present), 10 at Immaculate Heart of Mary (Westchester, 1982-92) and 5 at Proviso West (Hillside, 1977-82)
- Three Illinois state championships – two at Fenwick (2001 and ’07); one at IHM (1987). His 2003 team was state runner-up, and the Friars finished in 3rd place in 2000 and ’10.
- 983 career varsity HS victories – 2nd most in Illinois’ history for girls and boys – with a winning percentage of .742; includes 12 IHSA Sectional & 31 Regional titles
- National Coach of the Year (EA Sports) and 3x Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year; inducted into three Halls of Fame (IBCA, ESCC & GCAC); has coached in 8 All-Star games, including the McDonald’s All American Game