DK 1

We can all agree that over the years our neighborhood has produced many outstanding people.  I have been writing the blog for a little over a year and a half now and I find it hard to believe that I have only mentioned this one person once.  Maybe it’s because he isn’t one to toot his own horn, not one who is loud, big-times anyone or likes to bring attention to himself.  Today, I’m here to bring recognition to a great man and give him a shout-out from Container Diaries.

To this day he still resides on Windsor Place between 8th and 9th…

He has been working as a high school teacher and basketball coach for many years, the past 27 at Msgr. McClancy located in Elmhurst, Queens.(As mentioned below, he just recorded his 400th victory at the varsity level)

I’m talking about no other than Donnie Kent.

Donnie Kent

‘DK’ as he is affectionately known by many, is one of the nicest people to reside in Windsor Terrace.

As a youngster, I never engaged in conversation with him.  I’d see him walk up to the avenue every day and I’d see him at basketball games.   I’d also see him up in the boys schoolyard at the summer league watching his players from Christ the King.  I’ll never forget sitting down on the ground against the church wall one night watching the Royals and the Loughlin Lions;  It was a battle! When we watched the summer league as kids, we adopted players as our favorites; when C.K. came to town, Buzz Matthews of Christ the King was my favorite.

It wasn’t until I entered the coaching world at Bishop Ford did I get to know the man who can always be seen siting directly behind the ESPN announcers at MSG at a college basketball game.

Donnie Kent has always been very cordial to me; when I became a coach I’d see him on the avenue where he found time to chat.

The man is filled with basketball stories and is also one of the most sincere people you will ever come across.

As I look back on all those times I had the chance to get to know a high school basketball coach living right around the corner from me, I kick myself for not befriending him.  I wish I could turn back time and say something to him as he dashes across the avenue.  I would’ve learned so much from him.

One night, late in the summer,  I recall DK walking up to the avenue.  At the time he was the head coach at McClancy High School and on this particular night he didn’t seem like himself.  I was hanging out on the corner of Windsor and 9th, outside Ballard’s.

“‘Hi coach Kent”, I said to him as he lifted his head and glanced my way.

“Hey Red”, he answered back but kept on walking.  (Usually on the corner he would stop and ask me how my freshmen team was doing at Ford)

I watched him as he made his way across the avenue towards Prospect Park.  Maybe he was on his way to some place important I thought to myself.

A few months later  found out that he had received a call from his center at McClancy, Serge Zwicker who at the time stood  6’8″ and was probably going to be a force in the CHSAA in the up-coming season.  Zwicker decided to transfer to another school, out of State.  Zwicker later went on to play the post at North Carolina.

Something about Kent that many people don’t know is that back in the early 1980’s when Christ the King had a teacher’s strike, Kent refused to cross the picket line, thus losing his job.  So he ended up at the Elmhurst school and has been there ever since.

Jack Kelly said of DK: “This would be a perfect time to thank the people like Don Kent for putting up with a bunch of crazy 7th avenue guys and helping us learn the important lessons in life like doing the best you can and if you fall pick yourself up and try again.”

When I visit NYC in April, I will be sure to seek ‘DK’ out by getting a hold of him and talking some basketball with a guy who is also a member of the CHSAA Hall of Fame.

Would love to hear your thoughts on Donnie.


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10 Responses to DK 1

  1. Betty T.B.K. says:

    Great sharing about Donald Kent, thanks guys! Yes I also remenber always seeing Donald all over the avenue, and always said Hello with a smile, yes a gentleman. Comes from a great family, His mom, wow I can still see her right now as I type, such a sweet Lady, and boy what a smile she would give you, especially as a little girl. (no comments please) ok A young girl!!!!!!!!!!! What a Sweet heart!! I always heard good things about Donald Kent and what an asset he is to our Community. Thanks Donald for being Donald Kent!!

  2. hoopscoach says:

    Thanks for sharing Betty…

  3. Ed Keyes says:

    The entire Kent family epitomizes a “doing for others” spirit no doubt instilled by a terrific mother and father. Mrs. Kent was a sweet and kind woman while Mr. Kent was a great guy and the most dedicated and knowledgable Brooklyn Dodger fan in the neighborhood. Congratulations Donald!

  4. Dan Leary says:

    Donnie was always a gentleman on and off the court. He was always at at our house when I was growing up as he was with my brothers Timmy and Billy. He talked my brother Billy into going out to St Marys of the Plains in Kansas. His dedication to teaching and coaching speaks for itself. Coach K still remembers details of the games when we (Ford) played against him at Christ the King. A true fixture in the hsitory of CHSAA basketball. I was trying to run a basketball clinic out in Rockaway a few years ago. Although I hadnt talked to Donnie in a while, I called him, among other coaches and he was the first one to call me back,”when should I be there”? was his answer. Nice of you to recognize his dedication.

  5. DK (Donnie Kent) CONGRATULATIONS on your CHSAA recorded 400 WINS…Reading the Diaries made this aware to neighborhood people…Knowing all the people who benefitted from his sports & education knowledge is unending…CHSAA received a GEM from Windsor Terrace…The faces of his MOM & DAD come to mind…His Dad retired from the P.O. Great picture Don….

  6. Bobby Trapp says:

    Donnie is and has always been one of the most respected guys from Holy Name School. Donnie has never said a bad thing about anyone, he has always been a super positive person and thats rare to see today. I remember growing up and Donnie going to play ball with the big guys and being short a guy or two he would always ask one of us if we wanted to play, thats what was great playing against the older guys and getting that experience. Even when I haven’t seen Donnie for 10 years, he made you feel like he saw you yesterday. The KENTS are a Great Family and HNP is a better place because of them. Way to go Donald.

  7. Pedro Acevedo says:

    I had the privilege of being on the 1974 varsity squad of the now defunct Bishop Reilly High School coached by none other than Mr. Donald Kent. Although I was so far down the bench that he’d need a megaphone to call me into the game, Coach Kent always treated me the same as he did the stars on the team – Mark Brodie and Ed Harvey. I remember a home game against arch-rival Holy Cross where we were down a bucket in the waning moments of regulation. For reasons known only to him, Coach sent me – a little-used reserve – into the game and ran a play where the point guard just heaved the ball towards the rim (a precursor to the alley oop). I managed to jump up and catch the pass, and went right back up for the layup to tie the game with only a couple of seconds left. The gym went wild to say the least. Although we were to eventually lose the game in overtime, Coach provided me with that one shining moment that made me the talk of the hallways for the next few days. Guys at the end of the bench rarely had that kind of attention, but thanks to Coach Kent, and his hunch, I was a star for a moment. I will be foever grateful to him. Congratulations, Coach, on your 400th win. Had I gotten fouled and sank the free throw that day back in 1974, this benchmark win would’ve come a week earlier!!


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