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Marshall’s girls basketball team and coach Dorothy Gaters opt out of season

When the Public League season gets underway, coach Dorothy Gaters and the Commandos will be on the sideline.

Marshall’s coach Dorothy Gaters talks to her players during the game on January 14, 2020.
Marshall’s coach Dorothy Gaters talks to her players during the game on January 14, 2020.
Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

There’s hardly a place Dorothy Gaters would rather be than in the gym, coaching another group of Marshall girls basketball players.

But when the Public League season gets underway, Gaters and the Commandos will be on the sideline.

Gaters, the state’s winningest basketball coach (boys or girls) with 1,155 victories in 45 years, has opted out of the season.

“I’m definitely going to miss it,” Gaters said. “All of my adult life has been spent coaching in some form or another. But with this pandemic, you have to get used to a lot of things.”

Gaters said the decision to not play this season was not made without careful thought.

“I listened to the reports,” she said. “I see all the professional teams and the college teams are having a heck of a time trying to keep their athletes safe. (And) we don’t have the protocols they have. ...

“Everything told me, don’t even try.”

This would have been a rebuilding season for the Commandos, who graduated nine players from a 22-11 team that finished second in Class 2A. It was Gaters’ fourth state runner-up trophy to go along with 10 titles, five thirds and two fourths.

She’s looking forward to getting back to competition later this year.

“I’m optimistic that next season will be better and safer,” she said. “A lot more is being known about this disease, Things will be a lot better.”

Gaters won’t be stepping away from the game entirely. As Marshall’s athletic director, she’s working with the Commando boys program, which will be playing.

And she’s still watching plenty of games on TV.

“I can’t stay away from that,” Gaters said. “I watch a lot of basketball. It’s always good to pick up new things.”

Some definite appointment TV will be Sky games now that former Naperville Central star Candace Parker has joined her hometown WNBA team.

“I’m so glad for the city of Chicago and for Candace,” Gaters said. “We played her team when she was in high school. She’s always been such a nice young lady and so talented.”