Dave Pimm, the accountant and substitute basketball coach, is stressed out. It's tax season and basketball season all at once, and he's running out of hours in a day.

Pimm is working 40-plus hours a week as comptroller for Western Architectural Services and another 30 hours a week coaching the Alta High basketball team. He's up till midnight each night watching film and producing scouting reports. He climbs out of bed at 5 to get a head start on the day.


He leaves work in the middle of the day to put his team through practice in the afternoon, then returns to his office to work on taxes, receivables, financial statements, contract billings and such, staying in the office sometimes as late as 9 or 10.

Friends, family and co-workers bring him lunch so he can eat on the fly. "I have people taking care of me," he says. "I get calls every day asking me, 'Do you need lunch?' " He eats in the car driving to practice or in the gym or at his desk.

"Coaching is a full-time job," he says. And he already has one of those. "I was working on a scouting report when you called." This was on a Sunday night.

Did we mention the Hawks are ranked No. 1 in the state? (Although that will change after an overtime weekend loss.) They're 10-7, with three

of those losses to national-caliber opponents in out-of-state tournaments.

Six of the Hawks' seven losses went to the wire. Pimm's record over the past 1 1/2 seasons is 23-7. Not bad for a guy who had exactly one year of head coaching experience (on the sophomore level) before this job fell in his lap.

"I'm exhausted," says Pimm, who was sick for three weeks last season and for another week this season.

The son of former University of Utah coach Jerry Pimm, Dave was settling into middle age and a good accounting career when he was coaxed into becoming an assistant at Alta seven years ago. He coached the first three seasons without receiving a dime.

He planned to quit before the start of last season, but head coach Tony Cannon talked him into coaching another year. Halfway through the season, Cannon called the coaches together at practice one afternoon and announced that his National Guard unit was being ordered to report for active duty (eventually in Iraq). Just like that he handed the job to Pimm.

The Hawks were 10-2 at the time. They proceeded to win 13 straight games, including the state championship.

Despite his lack of coaching experience, Pimm has had years of informal basketball education. He shadowed his father at practices and recruiting and scouting trips. "We watched a lot of basketball together," he says. "I learned a lot just growing up around it, and I learned a lot of X's and O's from Tony and (former Alta coach) Ron Carling, too."


After playing for Skyline High, Pimm was set to play for Mesa State, but he got married instead and went to Utah, where he practiced with his father's teams "just for fun" during the Utes' glory years in the early '80s. He never played in a game, but the experience continued his basketball education. Then he put it away and forgot about it.

He started a family, coached his kids' little league teams, survived a bout with cancer and then got the call to coach the Alta sophomores.

After four years, he tried to quit the job because his son Dustin was going to be playing for his sophomore team and he didn't believe fathers should coach their sons. But Cannon promoted Pimm to the junior varsity team rather than lose him. Pimm was going to quit again last season to avoid another father-son situation at the JV level, but Dustin, a state champion golfer who saw little basketball action as a freshman or sophomore (too small, too injured), decided not to play basketball so he could concentrate on golf. Cannon urged Pimm to return as his assistant. A couple of months later, he was the head coach.

This season Dustin joined the team again and, as fate would have it, just in time. He was bound for bench duty behind starting point guard Blake Boardman, but the latter suffered a season-ending knee injury, forcing Pimm into the starting lineup. He has emerged as one of the team's pleasant surprises.

"Dustin was just going to be someone who was fun to have around," says Pimm "He was an afterthought. He basically hadn't played in a game for three years." During the state playoffs, there will be three generations of Pimms in the gym: Jerry, Dave and Dustin. Jerry calls Dave from California each week to rehash the games.


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Even with all the winning, Pimm is not certain he can handle another year of coaching. The demands of the position, even at the high school level, are especially difficult for a man with a full-time job outside the school. Besides the practices, games, film sessions and scouting work — he was gone nearly every night in December either coaching his team or watching future opponents — there is the off-season. That means spring basketball and summer camps and fall basketball and a weight-lifting class for the team during school hours. For all this, Pimm receives $2,000 a year, which works out to a dollar an hour, at best.

"I could not have done this without help from (assistants) Jim Barker and Mike Gansauge," he says.

Pimm is ready to step aside and give the job back to Cannon, who will return from Iraq in April. Cannon continues to follow the games. His wife burns Alta's games on DVDs and mails them to Baghdad. Cannon recently e-mailed notes to Pimm about an upcoming opponent. Cannon, who follows the results of the Hawks' game on the Deseret Morning News Web site, talks to Pimm weekly. He told him recently that he will serve as Pimm's assistant when he returns, but Pimm declined, saying he will stick with the original arrangement and serve as Cannon's assistant. Cannon countered by saying they will be co-head coaches. Then again, Pimm might call it quits again.


"I've already started a letter of resignation," he says. "But I'm not going to do anything until Tony gets back. We'll make some decisions then about how involved I'll be next year — It's hard to be a paraprofessional (non-teacher) coach. It's very time consuming to do this.

"I feel like I'm not giving my employer everything he's paying for."

Meanwhile, he has the Hawks on track for another championship, although he made things more difficult for himself. Thinking that Cannon would return for the '03-04 season, he assembled a difficult schedule for the current season.

"The plan backfired," he says with a laugh. "I build this tough schedule for Tony thinking I wouldn't have to worry about it, and now I've got it."


E-mail: drob@desnews.com