WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Where Are They Now? Phil Dawkins

2012-12-03T19:00:00Z 2012-12-04T07:00:34Z Where Are They Now? Phil DawkinsMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
December 03, 2012 7:00 pm  • 

Former East Chicago Washington and Purdue basketball star Phil Dawkins has enjoyed the California sunshine and lifestyle for the last 30 years.

"I golf, and there is not a cold day out here," Dawkins said.  "Huntington Beach is the place to be."

It has for Dawkins and his wife Sandi. He is retired from State Farm.

"I really enjoyed working in the insurance industry, in the commercial lines," Dawkins said. "I worked in commercial insurance and made a lot of friends, and a lot of those I made because of my involvement in sports."

Dawkins wanted to get into coaching and started his career at Hammond's Spohn Middle School. He then served as an assistant coach at Anderson from 1968-81.

It was at Anderson he decided to get into another profession.

"At that time, there were not a lot of opportunities for minorities unless you were at Roosevelt, maybe Indianapolis," Dawkins said. "When Norm Held got the job at Anderson, I decided it was time for another profession."

Dawkins said that has changed, but he was happy to get into the insurance business. He will be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in March.

"State Farm is a great company and I had a great career," Dawkins said. "I really enjoyed it. I started going door-to-door selling car insurance and building up my book of business."

He also said he will never forget playing basketball for Hall of Fame coach Johnny Baratto. The 1960 Senators beat favored Muncie Central for the state title.

"They were supposed to be the best team since (1955) Crispus Attucks, which won state," Dawkins said. "They had Ron Bonham and were supposed to beat us ... well we beat them."

The Senators had a few stars of their own. His teammates included Trester Award winner and future Michigan star Bobby Cantrell, and Ron Divjak, who starred at Michigan State and later coached at Griffith High School.

"I remember coming back after winning and what a thrill that was," Dawson said. "South of town, I think it is Schererville and it was all corn fields, we had people waiting for us with their horns honking. They led us back to the Harbor. What a great time it was!"

Dawkins lost just three games from fourth grade through high school. He can remember them.

We lost one as a junior — in the Lafayette Semistate — and two my senior year: Gary Tolleston and Gary Roosevelt got us," Dawkins said. "I never thought about it as a kid. Ron and Bobby, we were all together since elementary school and we played a lot of games."

He said he wouldn't trade it for anything.

"Playing for Johnny Baratto, in the Harbor where we had a great fan following," Dawkins said. "It just didn't get any better than that."

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