Sharing Doug Moe Memories - T.R. Dunn
T.R. Dunn played for 10 seasons with the Denver Nuggets (1980-88, '89-91), and under Doug Moe nine of his ten years as coach. As the "defensive stopper" on Moe's high-octane offenses, Dunn ranks among the Top 5 in Nuggets history in seasons, games played, minutes and steals.
Dunn recently sat down with Nuggets.com's Jonathan Goldstein and reflected on his time playing under Moe and shared some of his favorite memories and stories.
I just want to get some of your favorite memories from your time with Doug.
"I have a lot of memories from that time, some from the very beginning. From the very beginning of how he conned me out of being an offensive player to a defensive player.
One of the conversations when Doug was coaching, he was with me and said 'I don’t need you looking to score out there. What I need is I need you playing defense. We got this guy Alex (English) and this guy Dan (Issel) and David Thompson. We’ve got these guys out there scoring. Now if you want to play, I need you out there playing defense.'
It’s like you hear this for the first time and you think ‘Now do I want to play, or do I want to sit over there and watch David shoot all the time?’
He put things to you very clearly as I remember. He was obviously a good coach, but he’s very direct. And very emotional during the games and he expressed his points to you very well. But I loved playing for him even though he wouldn’t let me shoot the ball…AT ALL (shouts jokingly). I had a role - like our other guys had their roles - and mine was to play D for us, and help us rebound and things like that, keep the ball moving. It’d be difficult if everybody out there on the floor in the passing game was looking to score all the time. I was the odd man out on the offensive end, which is okay because we had some great scorers, great scorers here during the time here that I played."
Well, you were here pretty much from the beginning to end. How did you see him progress after taking over the reigns of the team?
"Well, for him it was an easy transition. Doug had been the head coach at San Antone and had some great teams there. He ran the passing games with George Gervin and James Silas and Artis Gilmore and those guys and he had a great team down there. Coming here he implemented the passing game and our personnel here was conducive to it. We had a lot of veterans and players that score and move well without the ball and it was a perfect fit for us. I mean we led the league in scoring a bunch of years and won a couple Midwest Division titles. I had a lot of fun here playing. In spite of the fact that he hollered at everybody all the time, we still loved playing for him and had some good times."
What is the angriest you remember him ever getting?
"Oh that was a constant. It’s not any one time he was angry at you, I mean he was always that way during the game because he’s just very emotional and he really got into the game. He tried to get the most out of everybody. But after the game it was like a total transformation, he was this happy-go-lucky guy after the game. You would be wondering if this is the same person that one or two minutes ago was screaming at you the whole game. And then after the game, he was just totally the other Doug, the happy-go-lucky fun guy that kept everybody laughing. But during gametime, he was very serious and intense and emotional, and again, tried to get the most out of all his players."
What about his wardrobe?
"Well, I forget how many teams in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s there were in the league - I don’t know what, maybe 24, maybe 22 - but Doug had to be at the bottom as far dress was concerned. But that wasn’t his concern. He didn’t care that much about his attire, obviously. He was not going to have any pictures in GQ or anything like that. So that wasn’t high on his priority list."
Yeah, he told me that he always strove to be the worst dresser in the league, but somehow Frank Layden always beat him out.
"Thinking back, he and Frank had to be running for that top spot, on that end anyway."
Do you remember any good Doug quotes or funny things that he said?
"I don’t know about his quotes, but he would have a list of things that he would say. One great quote he would always use - we could be playing any team, and you know any team has an All-Star on that team. Well, if that particular guy was scoring, Doug would always call you over to the bench. For instance, if we were playing the Spurs and George Gervin was there, Doug would come to the bench in the huddle and he’d say 'Who’s guarding that stiff?'
I mean he’s calling George Gervin a stiff and he’s a perennial All-Pro player. We’d all be looking at each other like 'Oh God!, I mean I don’t want to correct you here, but this guy’s not a stiff.'
But that was just his saying. He called everybody a stiff. He’d call star players on other teams stiffs to try to help motivate you to play them tougher. I mean, for instance, I’m guarding Magic (Johnson) and he may score a bucket or two here and there and (Doug) would come in like 'Who’s guarding him? Who’s guarding this stiff?' And that’s my biggest memory."