David Robert Toney passed away on March 2, 2020 from Alzheimer’s disease. Known by many as “Coach,” he lived a full life and left a legacy of generosity, kindness, and humor. At each stop he was blessed with great friendships that he treasured the rest of his life. When you came into Coach’s life, you stayed in his heart.
He was born in Kokomo, Indiana in 1938, where he fell in love with the game of basketball. A standout guard in high school for the Kokomo Wildcats, Dave went on to play for the Purdue Boilermakers (West Lafayette, Indiana). His playing career concluded in 1960, but basketball remained central to his life.
He began his basketball coaching career at Covington Community High School (in Indiana), but soon found his way back to Purdue.
Back at his alma mater as an assistant coach under George King, Dave felt on top of the world. He coached the Purdue freshmen team to undefeated seasons two times. In 1969, the team won the Big Ten Championship, and advanced to the Final Four, all the way to the National Championship game against UCLA. Around this time, David married Sharon (née Cassidy), and they had a son, Patrick.
In 1975, he took his love of fundamentals and man-to-man defense to Arizona University (Tuscon) under Fred Snowden, where the team won the Western Athletic Conference Championship. Soon after, Dave became the head basketball coach at Flagler College in Saint Augustine, Florida. As much as David loved coaching at the collegiate level, being a devoted father had become the most important role in his life. When the opportunity to teach and coach at Pompano Beach High School (in
South Florida) presented, he seized it. Coach and the Tornadoes won district and regional titles, and a coach of the year honor, while still having time to spend with Patrick.
Eventually, David retired from coaching, but he continued to teach science—with the passion and meticulous detail he brought to coaching basketball. Occasionally he dusted off his clipboard and whistle to coach the Broward County All-Stars. When he finally retired from teaching, David moved to beautiful Spruce Pine, North Carolina. The scenery and people were delightful, but grandchildren (and “grand puppies”) pulled him closer. He moved back to West Lafayette and built his dream house. There, he enjoyed getting together with many friends, both new and old.
Sadly, in 2013 Dave was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He said goodbye to Purdue one last time, and moved up to Madison, Wisconsin with Patrick and his family. Like every other stage of his life, Coach made friends, made them laugh, and touched their hearts.
David was preceded in death by his mother, Helen (née Divens); father, Samuel; and older brother, Jack. He is survived by his son, Patrick (Sara), and grandchildren, Aidan, Zach, Abby, and Ryan.
If friends want to honor David’s memory, the Animal Welfare Institute (https://awionline.org ) and the Conservation Fund (https://www.conservationfund.org ) are causes dear to him.