How A 38-Year-Old Bus Driver Lost 70 Pounds To Be The Most Surprising College Basketball Recruit
Dan Stoddard’s teenage kids and his teammates on his college basketball team, who 20 years younger than him, call him “Old Man Dan.” That’s because Dan Stoddard is 38-years-old and is not your typical college basketball player. Stoddard, who turns 39-years-old next month, is a dad to two teenage kids and is a full-time bus driver. He enrolled at Algonquin College in Ontario, Canada, where he takes online classes. In the spring, the 6’8″, 386-pound Stoddard was playing in an annual high school alumni basketball game when he caught the eye of Trevor Costello, the coach of Algonquin Thunder basketball team. The next thing Stoddard knew he was being recruited to play college basketball, a dream he had never accomplished until 2017. Costello told Stoddard, “Hey, man, you could play for me.” The 38-year-old bus driver responded, “Get out of here. Are you kidding me? I’m 38 years old. C’mon, give me a break, there’s no way.” Narrator: There was a way.
Stoddard knew he would have to lose weight to run up and down the court against kids that were half his age. So he started hitting the gym every day, lifted weights and exercised on the treadmill until he burned 1,000 calories. He played hours of basketball a week and changed his diet. When tryouts for the basketball team arrived in August, Dan had lost 70 pounds. “For so long he’s been driving and sitting and not doing a lot of cardiovascular exercise,” said Stoddard’s wife who is a palliative care nurse. “The nurse inside me was like, ‘I’m not sure he’ll be able to keep up,'” she said. “It was unbelievable to see it click and how he got serious about training.”
Old Man Dan not only survived the 55-man tryout but made the team. When he showed up for the first day of practice where his teammates thought he was one of the coach’s friends. Now Stoddard, who has some gray hairs, is making an impression on his much younger teammates. Michael Soy, a 20-year-old shooting guard and star of the team, said Stoddard is like a father figure on and off the court, providing both basketball and life advice. “Dan is great, actually, even though he’s old,” Soy said. “He’s a rookie, but he knows what he’s doing. He’s like brick wall. When he sets a screen I’m wide open for like five seconds.” Stoddard is doing all of the old man basketball things that young players might not be interested in such as setting picks, boxing out, and rotating on defense. “I’m that garbage player getting offensive rebounds and making sure guys get open,” he humbly said.