Long was the total package: A gifted athlete, with the desire to excel and the showmanship to bring Spaulding Gym fans to their feet. Long completed his four-year basketball career as Keene State College's second all-time leading scorer with 1509 points.
"He took over a game with his uncanny ability to bring his play to the next level," said Don Kelbick, who coached Long for three seasons. "His heart would not let himself accept that he was not the best player on the floor."
Originally from Wicomico Church, V.A., Darrell Long quickly established himself as an offensive force by averaging 14 ppg as a freshman during the 1983-84 season. In the years that followed. Long did not disappoint KSC fans who came to watch his heroics. Although he would finish his career with a solid 15 ppg and 7.5 rpgaverage, not to mention hisshareof assists and steals, the numbers don't tell the whole story. Those who played with him echo the same sentiments; Darrell Long was someone special.
"Darrell was respected by not only the athletes, but the students as well," said Mark Elmendorf, who played alongside Longduringhis freshman and sophomore year. "I don't remember anyone saying anything negative about him."
"You could measure Darrell's contribution to the team in many ways," added then teammate Peter Paragon. "From taking the big shot in games to keeping everyone loose with his sense of humor, he had the.' qualities of a leader."
Long, who still holds the school record for most free-throws made in a game, played during a transitional period in Keene State basketball history. While KSC was moving into the highly competitive New England Collegiate Conference, the Owl roster was also being revitalized with the addition of several talented newcomers. Long accepted theroleof leader, and helped bridge the gap between the players.
"Darrell was like the grand-daddy,"Kelbick said. "He was such a good player. He had a major effect on teammates such as Jimmy Ferry, Johnny Jennings and Jeff Johnson, because when he said something they would listen, and he backed up what he said on the court."
Darrell Long presently serves as the Program Director at the YMCA in Hampton News, Virginia.