Pete DeLaney said he never intended to pay for college when it came to twin sons, Cameron and Josh, and daughter, Angela.
“I saved half the money up, but I wanted to buy a Winnebago,” DeLaney said with a laugh, “travel and go see them.”
While any parent can dream of what DeLaney did years ago, the DeLaneys — who each signed letters of intent to play Division-I college basketball Wednesday — made it a reality by staying true to a promise from 10 years ago.
“I told them this is what it’s going to take to go to school,” said DeLaney, once an assistant coach at Buffalo. “I said, ‘I’m not going to force you. I’m not going to force it down your throat. If you want to do it, we’re going to do it. We’re going to stick to it.
“‘If you sign up for it, we’re going to stick to it.’”
To this day, the DeLaneys don’t know what provoked them to sign up for it — the 5 a.m. workouts, the 350 jump shots a day, the 200 pushups each night — as just second graders.
Yet while there were good days and bad days, the DeLaneys never strayed from that commitment.
Unbeknownst to the children, it wasn’t always easy for DeLaney to hold up his end of the bargain either.
“I never wanted to get up,” he said, “but again, I don’t want to pay for college, so either or.”
Two years later, the results began showing on the athletic field. Cameron was the first to play organized basketball, the reward for having the highest grades, followed by Josh and Angela.
For DeLaney, it was a moment away from the playing field that let him know the hard work was beginning to pay off.
“(It was) when everybody started coming up telling me, ‘how old were your kids? They must be older, yada, yada, yada,” he said.
While the criticism became louder, the DeLaneys’ commitment was only reinforced by what was happening on the court.
“The more and more I started to see progression in my game, me and my brother and my sister dominating everybody,” Cameron said. “That’s when I knew I just loved the game. This is what I want to do, I want to be the best.”
Initially, the taller Angela was the best, winning a free throw contest against her brothers in one of her earliest basketball memories.
Cameron and Josh surpass her in size now, but the competition continues in a healthy way.
“We work hard together,” Angela said. “If I’m feeling down one day, they’ll push me, if they’re feeling down one day, I’ll push them, so it’s kind of like a competition that way.”
On Wednesday, the DeLaneys each signed the piece of paper that makes it all worth it.
Josh and Angela will attend Sam Houston State while Cameron will attend the University of Denver.
And to this day, the DeLaneys have no regrets for the work they put in under their dad.
“Who wouldn’t want to go to school for free on a scholarship?” Josh said. “All you have to do is play basketball, something that I love, to get an education, something that you need.”
And while DeLaney saw his goal of helping his kids earn scholarships come to reality Wednesday, he said his primary goal was reached before then. All the mornings spent shooting outside, before there was a recreation center in Harker Heights, had helped achieve a different goal.
“The proudest thing that they can say about my kids is that they’re great kids to be around,” he said. “I don’t care about how many baskets they can score, I don’t care about how many steals they get, but I care about how you treat somebody else.
“Good kids to be around, that’s my greatest accomplishment.”
Contact Jordan Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7562