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Retired Delaware high school coach on a roll selling cakes

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Bill Victory didn’t set any limits when it came to embarking on a business venture a couple of years ago.

That’s just not in the nature of the former Caesar Rodney High School teacher and girls’ basketball coach.

“You can start a business out of your home. I mean, Col. Sanders started his business (KFC) when he was 67, and look what that turned into,” said Mr. Victory, who is retired and age 69. “I’m not sure that Coach Vic’s Cakes is going to turn into that, but who knows? I’m making money, and it’s fun.”

With a little bit of nudging from his wife, Barbara, Mr. Victory opened Coach Vic’s Cakes out of the kitchen of his Dover home in August 2019. That came after he made cakes for his family and friends for around 15 years, giving most of them away to cheer people up.

“There was like four or five (different cakes), and I would make different ones, and I was always pretty good at it, but I never thought anything about it,” said Mr. Victory. “Then, I started getting more ideas about cakes that I wanted to try to make.

“I found some recipes, and there’s some recipes I kind of came up with on my own, and then, I would start giving them away to people (during) special times, like when people take them to schools or to (the hospital).”

He added, “I had just retired, and my wife said to me, ‘Last month, you gave $300 worth of cakes away.’ And she had that ‘wife’ look on her face, and she said, ‘You’ve got two options: You can either stop giving them away, or you can start selling them.’ I went and got my license the next week, and it took off.

“Most things in my life that I’ve kind of gone on and accomplished is because (of) that gentle nudge from her, and good wives do that.”

Now the menu at Coach Vic’s Cakes — which he calls “The Bucket List of Cakes” — offers more than 40 selections, from Delaware Mud to The Shaq to TNT Cake and everything in between.

“People want to know, do I make pies or cupcakes? No, I just make cakes,” Mr. Victory said. “My cakes are like nobody else’s. Everybody’s looking for what’s on their bucket list, and these cakes should be on people’s bucket lists.”

The baker does all the work out of his kitchen, which has been inspected by the state, and takes orders through his cellphone (535-9797) or by email. Coach Vic charges $20 for a 9-by-13-inch cake and $40 for a 12-by-20-inch.

After retiring as a teacher and basketball coach in 2018, he joked that he thought the next time he’d be in the newspaper was when his obituary appeared. He said, laughing, that he may be retired, but he is staying plenty busy.

“For holidays, like last Thanksgiving, I made 26 cakes in three days,” said Mr. Victory. “But so far, we haven’t got to the point where it’s work. I still love doing it, I’m still good at it, and sometimes, I’ll take one to people who might need a pick-me-up or things like that. So I give some away, but then I make some and sell to kind of keep it going.

“I work six days a week — I don’t work on Sundays — but six days a week, I’m usually baking. Usually, it doesn’t take me all day. It’s usually just part of the day, and then, I spend time either delivering or having people picking (the cakes) up.”

Many say that if a person is doing something they truly love, then they really never have to work. And that’s what the former coach is doing now.

“I enjoy my retirement a lot because everything I do in my retirement is the things that I want to do,” he said. “Some people want to give me a job, (but) I don’t want a job. I like my freedom to go and serve and to minister to people on my own. That frees me.

“As a teacher and a coach, I had all that socialization, but now, my socialization comes from being active in the community, either because of the cakes or because of (my) church or because of coaching connections. I like it like this, and I enjoy my life every day.”

Just don’t ask Mr. Victory if he has a favorite cake in his vast lineup of sweet treats.

“It’s like my children and grandchildren,” he said. “I have 19 grandchildren, and if you ask me which one is my personal favorite, well, I don’t have one. Each cake is unique to itself. If you see the list, there’s a lot of cakes — there’s some that are similar — but there’s a lot of cakes that are very unique to themselves, and it just depends on what day it is.

“I use the Honeybun Cake if I’m going to try to engage a business, like a doctor’s office or something like that. That’s the cake that I take always because there’s nothing not to like about it. It’s brown sugar and cinnamon, and it’s a great cake.”

Retirement seems a long way from his 26 seasons at the helm of the Caesar Rodney girls’ basketball team, which was a perennial Henlopen Conference and state tournament contender during his tenure. But he admits he still uses his old hoops connections when needed.

“The name of the company is Coach Vic’s Cakes, so my connection from a coaching part of it (is) there’s a lot of people I know (who) either I’ve coached against or coaches that I have coached with or players that have played for me that are now teaching or coaching,” said Mr. Victory.

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