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In Memoriam: Greg Dillard of Carrier Mills, IL

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TwiddleDee View Drop Down
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    Posted: 01/27/2021 at 10:30pm
Greg passed today. He was my best friend and table tennis coach since 1977. He used to compete in tournaments, but preferred to coach. He was the SIU Carbondale coach for over 25 years, beginning in 1986. ( A small write up on that can be found in The Daily Egyptian, 4-20-2014) I would estimate that he coached over 100 players, and never charged anyone. In fact, he would oftentimes give a newer player a nice blade, in hopes of encouraging them. Some of them came back to play, others didn't. He also loaned SIUC his Stiga tables in order to ensure that there would be enough available for all players, who numbered up to 15 at times. He would drive to SIUC twice a week, which was 40 minutes away. Sometimes he would bring and set up his robot. I met him in the summer of 1977. I could not begin to estimate the total number of hours that we played. He taught me how to coach, and I carried on his tradition for years. I have never met anyone else who was so enthusiastic about table tennis. He will be missed by many.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ashutoshsorab Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2021 at 11:00pm
Adding to what Ed has posted. Greg has been my first ever coach of my life. Whatever I'm today with table tennis is because of him. It is so unfortunate to lose him for rest of my life. It is very hard to find a selfless person who gave everything to the sport. I will miss him and I pray his soul rest in peace.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Student_of_Greg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2021 at 12:47am
I am also a student of Greg. He coached me during my time at SIU Carbondale, dated back in 1995, and continued to help me with my game well after I left Carbondale. Through his coaching, I have become a much better player than before meeting him, and at one point broke the 2200 barrier. He simplified the elements of the game into four dimensions: “physical, technique, tactical, and mental”, and helped me improved in each of them. He created a number of drills with simulated set plays to plug holes in my game. He is amazing as a coach and friend, and is gentle as a person. A few pieces of his wisdoms about the game still live on in me, and I have been able to share them with some of my table tennis friends later on. My favorites are “control yourself before you can control the table”, “play your game and make the opponent play yours”, “90 mph shots in only 9-ft distance, you better practice a lot”, and “preparation won you the game before it even starts”. Greg continues to live on in my memory. Simply thank you!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Yuk1_H. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2021 at 11:17am
It dates back to 2014 when I first got to meet Greg at SIUC rec center as international student.  Thinking back the fond moments with him and fellow players, I couldn't feel more precious that I had such a dedicated and admirable coach and mentor in table tennis.  He managed to fix my overall backhand form with concistency that I couldn't myself over years and improve my underspin services.  Besides, he helped me buy and sell my car while I was new to it, which I couldn't be more appreciative about.  Even though I spent about 3 years on weekends with him in Carbondale, I did learn a lot from him.  

I and what I have been taught will never be forgotten.  Please rest in peace, until we play together again.  From your coachee.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ashutoshsorab Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2021 at 10:24pm


Few article where his work was appreciated by Daily Egyption news paper
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote liulin04 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2021 at 11:12pm
i'm sorry for your loss everyone.  I'm sure the local table tennis community all mourn for his loss.  My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote avinashsp93 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/29/2021 at 11:38pm
I was one of Greg’s last students and I had the best time getting coached under him. He took my game from almost nothing to 1800 in such a short time. He would go out of his way and drive 2 hours just so I could get match experience. He’s taught me so many lessons that I can still hear him saying today. It’s hard to imagine that he’s not here with us today. I pray his soul rest in peace.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote shuochou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/30/2021 at 9:10pm
Yea I am also one of Coach's student. Former president of SIUC Table Tennis club. Coach is the one who formally teach me how to play. It was a good four years. I often drive to Carrier's mill once a week with some other available club members to play at the church. We also go to tournaments several times a year. Coach treats all his students like his own children. It is sad that we'll have to leave eventually. But I had a great four years in Carbondale, and I am blessed to learn from him. I always thought Coach will be playing/coaching for another 20 years, and I really want to take my kids to visit the church in Carrier's mill and play with him. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ktsai1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/31/2021 at 9:08am
 I first met Greg in 2008 as an international student, and we had kept in touch since. Greg was always there at the SIUC tabletennis club every weekend- rain or shine, as long as the rec is open. One can see the sparkles in his eyes when talking about tabletennis. He would study new techniques from magazines or stay up late searching online as he understood the full of it, then pass them along with fundamentals to his players. You would be surprised to learn how much he knew in the world of tabletennis- a man from Carrier’s Mills in Southern Illinois. He also never took credit for the achievements of his players- turned amateurs to pros, led team to NCTTA championships, just to name a few. Perhaps most importantly, Greg injected enthusiasm for tabletennis into so many of his players- with endless encouragements, jokes and smiles.

Greg, you will always be missed.

“Move your feet, old frog!” (Smile)




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote AnishB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/31/2021 at 11:35am
He started teaching me when I was just 11 years old, when I didn't know anything about the game. He was a natural teacher -- always kind and encouraging, but quick to point out bad technique and areas of improvement. "Move your feet, grandma!" He invested his time, money, and effort into helping his players improve, traveling to tournaments with us, having us play on his tables while at SIUC, and playing one-on-one with us on weeknights. The paddle I still use is the one he gave to me as a high school graduation gift. He coached dozens of students who passed through the SIUC table tennis club. And while all of us move around the world and teach others the game, he will have undoubtedly touched hundreds of lives.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bmontana33 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/01/2021 at 10:00am
To all those that knew Greg directly, I'm sorry for your loss. I didn't know him personally, but I have benefited from his teachings. One of his students took me under his wing when I started playing at my local club and he drastically sped up my learning curve by helping show me proper mechanics. He also opened my eyes to how much there is to learn about this game and how much fun it can be in the process. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AnishB Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/10/2021 at 12:53pm
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