He was known as “Sweet Doo” during his career. Terry Duerod was a high school standout, helped the University of Detroit reach the NCAA Tournament as a sophomore and was part of the Boston Celtics’ NBA championship squad in 1981.
Duerod, who later served as a firefighter in Detroit for 28 years, died on Nov. 13, 2020, from leukemia. He was 64.
Eight of Duerod’s items from his days with the Celtics are be part of a lot in a sale held by Nate D. Sanders Auctions. The items from the Los Angeles auction house include Duerod’s 1981 championship ring — celebrating the Celtics’ 14th NBA crown — a custom Omega watch with “XIV Celtics” positioned inside a shamrock on the face, home and road warm-ups, a green Celtics jacket and two team photos. The photos include a signed team shot of the 1980-81 Celtics.
“His range was the minute he came out of the locker room,” Dick Vitale, who coached Duerod in college and in the NBA, said last year after hearing of his former player’s death. “I am telling you, if there was a 3-point line during that era, he would have put points up at a staggering rate and his stat totals would be way higher than they are.”
Duerod was a fan favorite wherever he played. At the University of Detroit (now Detroit Mercy), whenever Duerod connected on a basket, the Calihan Hall public address announcer would yell, “Doooooooooo-rod.”
Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan tweeted that Duerod “was the all-time crowd-pleasing garbage time player in Celtics history.”
“And that IS a compliment,” Ryan added.
While Duerod only played four years in the NBA, he spent nearly three decades as a firefighter with Engine 55 in Detroit’s northwest side before city age restrictions forced him to retire in 2016 when he was 60.
“He’s one of the best (fire engine operators) I’ve ever ran with,” Sgt. Roberto Romero told The Detroit News in 2016. “He’s really competitive, which is probably why he’s so good at what he does.
“Nobody will beat him to a fire, that’s for sure.”
The most intriguing item in the auction is the 1981 Celtics championship ring. It is notable for commemorating the Celtics’ first NBA title with Larry Bird in the lineup. The ring features a diamond at the center against a green base, with “Duerod” atop an enamel shamrock.
Duerod’s green Celtics jacket has his nickname, “Due” in yellow and white above the “Celtics” lettering. His No. 40 warmup jersey has “Celtics 40” on the front and the No. 40 on the back, although there is no name listed on the back.
The white Celtics warmup jacket–with matching pants–does have the name still attached to the back.
The photograph of the 1980-81 squad is signed by the team, including coach Red Auerbach and stars such as Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale.
Bidding on the lot begins at $17,500.
Duerod was one of Michigan’s finest high school starts during the 1970s. As a senior in 1975, Duerod was named to the Detroit Free Press’ first-team All-Metro squad. The guard averaged 27.2 points and 12.2 points as a senior and Highland Park to the Class A state championship with a 25-point performance in the title game as the Polar Bears defeated Flint Northwestern 85-76.
In college, Duerod played for Vitale and as a sophomore led the Titans to a 25-4 record and their first-ever victory in an NCAA Tournament game. During the regular season, Detroit beat Michigan State, Arizona on a buzzer beater and eventual national champion Marquette. The Titans reached the second round of the 1977 NCAA Tournament before losing to Michigan.
Vitale left for the NBA after the ’77 season, but Duerod led the Titans to another NCAA appearance in 1979, averaging 23.3 points per game as a senior and earning All-America honors. He also sparked Detroit to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament in 1978.
Vitale did not forget Duerod, drafting him in the third round of the 1979 NBA draft for the Detroit Pistons.
“He had great character, he cared about people, gave a damn about others,” Vitale told the Detroit Free Press in November. “He was a very unselfish kid and just special. And he was Mr. Excitement. Played a vital part in my career and my life, as did the other players.”
After the NBA, Duerod played in the Continental Basketball Association and also appeared on teams in Italy and the Philippines. He stayed active in basketball on AAU squads but after receiving a year of training as a firefighter, Duerod earned his badge on May 30, 1990, and devoted his career to battling blazes.
He came face-to-face with fire on the second night of his training.
“We had an apartment,” Duerod told the Free Press in a 1990 story. “The first time is a little spooky, but we got great guys on the job. They know what’s going on. They teach you.”
Duerod taught his co-workers, too, starring for the Detroit Fire Department’s basketball team. In a May 1990 game, Duerod scored 46 of his team’s 84 points in a losing effort against Homicide Law in the William L. Hart Basketball League championship game.
Duerod entered the Detroit athletics Hall of Fame in 1993, and in 2017, he had his No. 42 retired by Detroit Mercy in 2017. Vitale was there to help Duerod enjoy the moment.
“As a kid, you see that happen and you never think that will happen to you,” Duerod told the News before the ceremony. “That’s like a dream. I’m still dreaming.”
Few people knew that Duerod was sick, other than perhaps his best friend, former Detroit teammate Earl Cureton.
“There was nothing he didn’t excel in,” Cureton, who was best man at Duerod’s wedding in 1982, told the News. “There were just so many great things about him.
“There was nothing he couldn’t do.”
Duerod, who was a C-minus student in college, returned to school and earned his bachelor’s degree in art from Detroit Mercy in May 1991.
“He was a winner in the game of life,” Vitale told the Free Press.
The auction will close this Thursday.