Basketball court to be named after popular Miami Middletown coach

The basketball court at Miami University Middletown will be named in honor of Lynn Darbyshire, who was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 2007. STAFF FILE PHOTO
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The basketball court at Miami University Middletown will be named in honor of Lynn Darbyshire, who was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 2007. STAFF FILE PHOTO

A man synonymous with Miami University Middletown will be honored this year by having the basketball court named after him.

Lynn Darbyshire Court will recognize the career and impact of Darbyshire, and help commemorate the 50th anniversary of the MUM campus. The board of directors of the Miriam G. Knoll Foundation has committed $75,000 toward the project, provided Miami can raise the other half of the funds.

The court in the Bennett Recreation Center will be redesigned, with new painting and finishing, bleachers to comply with ADA regulations, and portable backstops, the university said.

“This is shocking, and surprising,” said Darbyshire, 73, who retired 22 years ago. “I just never thought something like this would ever happen. It’s pretty cool.”

Darbyshire served as dean of student affairs, athletic director, decorated coach, community member and founding member of the Ohio Regional Campus Conference. He worked at Miami for 30 years.

He led the men’s basketball team to a 134-70 record during his decade as head coach, with a state tournament championship in 1972 and a conference championship in 1976.

In 1971, the campus created the Lynn Darbyshire Warrior Award for student athletes who best exemplify the attitude and character expected in the MUM athletic program and the W. Lynn Darbyshire Leadership Award in 1995 for a student of third year status who demonstrates outstanding leadership outside the classroom.

Under his direction, the ORCC expanded to offer competition in eight sports for men and women. He initiated the ORCC All-Sports Award in 1981 primarily to encourage other schools to support women’s athletics on their campuses.

One of his former players, Jim Sliger, later was hired as the university’s first women’s basketball coach. In his second season, MUM hosted the regional campus state tournament. The tournament draw was held in Darbyshire’s office and the only two people there were Darbyshire and Sliger.

MUM, which was under .500, drew the No. 1 seed in the first round, a fact that Darbyshire and Sliger could have changed.

But that wouldn’t have been the Darbyshire Way.

Sliger said Darbyshire was all about integrity and living your life the right way, all the time.

After graduating from Miami, Darbyshire was offered a position at MUM to establish the school’s intramural and recreation program. And he never left.

“Some people always think about the greener pastures, but not me,” Darbyshire said. “Money never was important to me and it’s still not. I love our kids, real people. They earned a way to school and I liked the community. There was no need to pull up.”

Darbyshire said those in the teaching profession sometimes aren’t rewarded until they retire. That’s when they see the fruits of their hard work, he said.

“That’s when your former students tell you that you did a heck of a lot more than you ever thought,” he said. “It’s pretty incredible, really.”

Lynn and his wife, Stefanie, have two children, Gregg and Jaime, and nine grandchildren, eight boys. Darbyshire hopes he dies watching, or coaching one of his grandchildren.

Maybe that will be at Lynn Darbyshire Court.

Contributions can be made online at or by calling 513-727-3471.

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