Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Former Cedar Hill boys basketball coach David Milson, 53, dies
Friends would sometimes ask David Milson why he struck up conversations in random places with complete strangers. The quick answer was that it was natural. He just did it.
But there was a deeper reason.
“You can change somebody’s life,” he once said, “just by speaking to them.”
Milson, who coached Cedar Hill basketball for 23 years, died Monday morning. He had suffered from lung cancer since last April. He was 53 years old, a husband and a father of two children.
“I worked with him for 14 years,” Cedar Hill football coach Joey McGuire said. “It’s not an overstatement to say he was the best the man I’ve ever known.”
Milson won 676 career games and advanced to the 2004 and 2009 state championship games with the Longhorns. Many say he is a legend. Not just because of the victories, but because of the way he treated others.
“He was like a father, a brother, a best friend,” former assistant Eddie Berumen said. “He could fill all those roles. He’d never judge anybody.”
At lunch time, Milson sat in the cafeteria with groups of students who had no affiliations with basketball. He’d walk around the hallways, spotting kids who appeared in a down mood, and he’d lift them up by performing a magic trick.
When Cedar Hill traveled to out-of-state tournaments, other coaches always stopped to say hello or ask for Milson’s advice. He knew college coaches such as Bill Self and Mike Krzyzewski , Rick Barnes and many others.
Just a few months ago, coach Scott Drew invited Milson to a Baylor basketball practice. A player had displayed poor attitude throughout the preseason. Drew asked Milson to speak to him.
“That exemplifies everything,” said Glenn Hartson, a former assistant and now the boys coach at Midlothian.
In April 2010, Milson retired to spend more time watching his daughter, Rylea, play basketball for Midlothian, and to travel to UNC-Wilmington to watch his son, Tanner, play college hoops.
Weeks later, doctors told him he had lung cancer. He was never a smoker.
In December, Milson traveled to North Carolina with his wife, Val, to visit Tanner. He returned again earlier this month, seeing three of his son’s games. On Friday night, he watched Rylea score four points for Midlothian.
The last several months included plenty of down moments, but not when he got to see Tanner and Rylea doing what they love d.
“Any time it came to talking about his family,” Berumen said, “there would be that glimmer in his eye.”
Funeral services are pending.
Inside the numbers for David Milson's career
31 Seasons coaching
23 Seasons coaching at Cedar Hill
676 Career coaching victories
2 Class 5A state runner-ups (2004, 2009)