Another Hat for Shell Dailey

Shell, Eric, and Eric Jr. Dailey
Silver Stars Photo

How many hats can one person wear?

Silver Stars assistant coach Shell Dailey is getting to find that out first hand after giving birth to a healthy baby boy, Eric Lavell Dailey Jr. on January 15, 2004. Along with her new role as mother, she also is coach and wife. As she has quickly found out switching between her various roles has been a challenge at times and has kept things exciting.

�It�s been pretty interesting,� she remarked. �Being a mom has been a great experience so far.�

One thing that has kept things interesting early on is how quickly her son has grown. He entered the world tipping the scales at 7 pounds, 8 ounces and has done nothing but grow ever since.

�He�s a big boy, 28� inches long and weighs about 18 pounds already,� she said. �He started out as a normal baby and all of a sudden he just grew into this big baby.�

So maybe he�s not quite Duncan-size yet, but he has already begun to show an interest in the sport his mom loves and coaches. This was apparent early on and she attributes his early interest to his exposure to basketball before he even took his first breath.

"...The season is a shorter period of time, but I still get to do the same things. It just gives me more time with my son. That�s one of the good things about coaching in the WNBA."

�At six weeks old I took him out to a game with me while I was scouting and he didn�t cry or holler. He just sat there and watched the jumbotron and all the people,� she recalled. �He�s probably used to that because when I was pregnant with him he heard all those sounds. I have had him out to a few games already this season and he seems to really enjoy it. He just sits there and watches like he knows what�s happening.�

At just seven months old, mom already sees the possible potential in her son and doesn�t deny that she would enjoy watching him pick up the family trade. Between mom, who stands at 6 feet 2 inches, and has a wealth of basketball knowledge and dad, 6 feet 7 inches, with 10 years of professional playing experience that stretches from Finland to Japan, it�s not hard to see Eric Jr. developing a body and mind built for basketball.

�I hope he grows up wanting to play basketball because he�s going to be a tall boy,� she quipped.

Dailey�s ability to spot potential is just one of the things that has crossed over from coaching into motherhood. She credits her coaching experiences with developing the tools she needs to raise her son, including one area that has not always been her strong point.

�These young ladies (Silver Stars players) have helped me with my patience. Growing up I don�t think I was ever really a patient person until I started coaching,� she stated. �Now, having a child puts things in perspective and I�ve become really patient. I have to be patient with the ladies and really patient with Eric Jr.�

The trick for her is being able to find a balance between her various roles on and off the court. Not neglecting her husband, she realizes that she is more than just coach and mom.

�I have to wear several hats because when I leave work, I turn into mom and I�m not only mom - I�m also wife,� Dailey said. �I really found out about it this week when my husband wasn�t feeling that good. He had a bit of a cold, so it was like I had to take care of two babies at once.�

Even as she jokes about taking care of him from time to time Dailey is grateful for the sacrifices her husband has made so that she can continue to coach. Eric Sr. has put his playing career on hold to stay at home and help with Eric Jr. while she is at practice, games and on the road. Even on a normal day, with a healthy husband to help out, she finds herself multitasking on a regular basis as she tries to maintain the work-mom balance.

�In doing my daily scouting reports and stuff it�s a challenge because I try to do them while the baby�s asleep but when he wakes up, it makes it kind of hectic,� she remarked. �It�s a learning experience for me, figuring out when I can get work done and how much I can get done while he�s asleep.�

Although getting him to take naps may prove to be a challenge, she can count on him sleeping when it matters most.

�I�m very fortunate that my son sleeps through the night,� she said. �He falls asleep at about nine at night and wakes up around 6:30 in the morning, so that�s about when I start getting up anyway. It works out well.�

Well rested, mother and son start each day ready to embark on new adventures together. Dailey realizes that as he gets older new issues will arise and she is beginning to prepare for the inevitable.

�He�s beginning to move around a bit. I can�t leave him in one spot anymore,� she pointed out. �He rolls and when I come back he�s moved in a different position. I�m starting to get used to it though. I just wonder what it�s going to be like when he starts to walk around.�

Dailey knows walking is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the challenges she will face raising her son. She admits there is still a lot to learn. She looks to Silver Stars Head Coach Dee Brown, who has three girls of his own, for advice.

�I take lessons from Coach Brown,� she admitted. �I just ask him a lot of questions.�

With support from her husband, fellow Silver Stars coaches and players, the balancing act between mother, wife and coach has been smoother a process; something she said would have been tougher as a college coach.

�When I coached in college I worked all year round and was always gone recruiting,� she stated. �With this schedule, the season is a shorter period of time, but I still get to do the same things. It just gives me more time with my son. That�s one of the good things about coaching in the WNBA.�

No matter which hat Shell Dailey has on at any given time you can be sure that her baby boy is always on her mind. Being a mother has been one of the best experiences of her life so far and she is excited for what the future will hold.