Yale University

In Memoriam

Dick Derby


Dick Derby
1964 graduation

Article

Yale Daily News
Sep. 19, 1962

Richard W. Derby, 1964, was killed September 1 in an automobile accident. Derby was seventh in scoring last year as a varsity forward on the Yale basketball team. He was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon and played on the Berkeley College golf team. He lived in Glen Falls, N.Y., and graduated from Glen Falls High School.

Subsequent to his death, the Richard Derby Award was established, to be awarded by the Yale Basketball Association "in memory of Richard W. Derby, Class of 1964, to that member of the varsity squad who has maintained the high standards of academic and athletic excellence characterized by former team member, Dick Derby." The first two winners of the Richard Derby Award were our classmates Dave Schumacher in 1963 and Dennis Lynch in 1964.

The following excerpt from a 1999 Yale Herald article entitled Searching for a Way Out of the Cellar explains, indirectly, some background of the Richard Derby Award. The full article is about Yale's basketball futility during the '90s. The excerpt describes a happier time, and Dick Derby's contribution to it.

Today's Elis are searching for the type of confidence that inspired the 1962 Yale squad. The Bulldogs, coming off an embarrassing 21-point loss to Penn at the Palestra, were playing the three-time defending league champion Princeton Tigers, and the score was tied at 78 in overtime. Sophomore Dick Derby heaved a half-court shot at the buzzer. It went in, and Yale went on a nine-game winning streak to win the league title ― the last time Yale would be league champions.

"That game was the turnaround," the team's leading scorer that season, Rich Kaminsky, MC '64, said. "We just wanted to win so bad, we never backed off. We weren't afraid of any team. It was infectious." That no-fear attitude carried the Bulldogs to a shocking league-championship run in a year in which they were not even expected to contend.

Kaminsky lived with three of his teammates. "There were no egos. We never cared about how we won our games, as long as we won. There was a tremendous cohesion." In the NCAA tournament, Yale faced Wake Forest in the first round and took the Demon Deacons to overtime. Kaminsky fouled out in the opening minutes of the extra period. Kaminsky still contends that his fifth foul was an unfair call. "I was ready to cry. I think we would have beaten them." Wake Forest advanced to the Final Four.

After their Ivy championship, the Elis were seen as a top contender entering the 1963 season. But during the summer, tragedy struck: Derby was killed in a car accident days before classes started. It was a devastating loss, and the team never recovered. The drought continues today.