WEBSTER CITY - The chance to sit on the bench and lead the program that he once carried to the Class 2A state tournament as a player was too good to pass up.
In the end, B.J. Terrones had to follow his heart back home.
After resigning as the head boys' basketball coach at South Hamilton last Friday, Terrones was officially named the head coach at Gilbert on Wednesday. The Gilbert School Board approved the contract offered to Terrones following an interview last Friday morning.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
B.J. Terrones calls out a play from the sideline during South Hamilton’s Class 2A state quarterfinal game against Cascade in March at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Terrones resigned last Friday to take over at Gilbert.
A 1995 graduate of Gilbert High School, Terrones will take over after a two-year stint at South Hamilton that was loaded with success. The Hawks won the Heart of Iowa Conference championship and advanced to the 2A state tournament for the first time in 23 years this past winter.
Terrones posted a 35-13 record at South Hamilton, including a 21-4 mark in 2013-14. It was his first gig as a head coach at the prep level and he says he'll never forget his time in Jewell.
"I have nothing but positive things to say about South Hamilton, the community and the administration," Terrones said. "Everyone embraced my family ... it's an experience I'm never going to forget as long as I live."
South Hamilton was caught off guard by Terrones' sudden departure last week. Athletic director Todd Coy was not informed of the interview until after his now former coach had interviewed at Gilbert and he expressed disappointment in the process.
Terrones declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding the interview process.
The Tigers get a new head coach that spent four years learning under Dr. Tom Davis at the University of Iowa when he wore a Hawkeye uniform in the late 1990s. Terrones also coached the freshman team at Ames High School before accepting the head job at South Hamilton.
Terrones - an Assistant District Attorney for the State of Iowa who works and lives in Ames - says his reasons for wanting to make the move have a lot to do with family. He lives in the Gilbert school district and his three children - Tony (sixth grade), Abby (fourth grade) and Billy (first grade) - all attend Gilbert schools.
"My kids have been in the Gilbert school district the entire time and my dad, their grandpa, drives their school bus," Terrones said. "I live in the same square mile as my parents ... those things played a role and were a factor in making this decision."
Gilbert went 13-10, including two losses to South Hamilton, this past season and reached the 3A district final round. The Tigers return the bulk of their roster, including leading scorers Wes Greder (14.6 ppg), Jared Gescheidler (12.8), Jack Hoiberg (10.7), Dax Hatfield (9.1) and Ryan Blum (8.3).
"I'm very excited about and looking forward to being a part of Gilbert basketball again," Terrones said. "It's an opportunity to go home and be a part of the program that I played for."
Terrones leaves behind a South Hamilton program that appears to be in good shape for the future. Collin Hill - a 6-foot-4 sophomore guard - is regarded as one of the state's top players in the Class of 2017 and Terrones says there's also plenty of talent in the lower grades.
"It's very difficult to leave that program and I envision some very good things to come with that program," Terrones said. "I can name off almost every basketball player from third grade to 12th grade, so it's very hard when you put that much time and work into something to leave. But on the other side of the coin, I am very excited to do the same thing with the Gilbert community."
Coy says South Hamilton is still in the process of finding applicants for the Hawks' head job.
"We would love to have this filled within the next two weeks and then take it to the September (school) board meeting," he said.