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JIMTOWN - Derrick DeShone says he's not daunted by becoming an Indiana high school boys basketball head coach at the tender age of 24, nor by the potentially not-so-tender challenge of succeeding his father on the job.
Jimtown principal Jeff Zeigler and athletic director Bill Sharpe don't seem to care much about those things, either, rather just all the positives they believe will come from landing DeShone back at his alma mater.
DeShone, a 2005 Jimtown graduate and a virtual coach on the floor as the point guard of the Jimmies' 2004 Class 2A state title team, was approved 5-0 during a special meeting of the Baugo Community Schools board Wednesday morning to replace Randy DeShone as Jimtown High coach. He will also teach second grade at Jimtown Elementary.
Randy DeShone resigned in early June after 20 seasons upon becoming assistant principal at the high school.
"It's a whirlwind of emotions," Derrick DeShone said shortly after Wednesday's vote. "I'm humbled by getting this opportunity at a school I love and care about, and with people who have been so influential in my life. It's an unbelievable honor."
DeShone is believed to be the first individual in Elkhart County boys basketball history to directly succeed one's father, though Drew Ryall did become head coach at Elkhart Christian in 2007, three years after his father, Mike, resigned.
"I embrace it," DeShone said of following his dad. "It's an honor because of the level he's built this program to, and I want to continue that, but to go with that, I want to take it to a new level. I realize it's not very often a son gets to follow his father as coach."
DeShone, a 2010 IUSB graduate, spent the last two seasons as an assistant to Jason Ridge at Northridge High School and was a teacher with Middlebury Community Schools.
"(Jimtown) is probably the only job I would've left that situation for at this young," said DeShone, who turns 25 on Aug. 31. "I loved working for Coach Ridge and working with the young kids there. I thank Coach Ridge for giving me my start, for being a friend, for teaching me about basketball and for teaching me about life."
DeShone, an Elkhart Truth All-Area first-teamer in 2005, becomes the first Jimtown grad among the school's last nine boys basketball coaches, the last being John Luse, who completed a seven-year tenure in 1965.
Zeigler and Sharpe, who formed the two-person selection team, called DeShone's Jimtown ties a bonus.
"In our students, we try to build the best product we can in academics, athletics and character," Zeigler said, "so why would we not want to hire the product we develop? There's a personal touch in this case. You get a little extra from the individual. It's not a job, it's a way of life, plus I truly believe Derrick was the best candidate. That's the bottom line. He's energetic, enthusiastic, cares about Jimtown, knows the game of basketball. He lives the game of basketball."
DeShone said he will likely employ the same defensive principles that long served his father well, while on offense, he will consider each of several systems to which he's been exposed.
"I've been in a few," said DeShone, who was a walk-on player at Ball State before finishing his playing career at IUSB. "With Tim Buckley (at BSU), it was mainly pick and roll. Then Micah Shrewsberry (at IUSB), who ran a lot of motion, and Denny Parks (at IUSB), who ran four out, one in with slash sets, and then Coach Ridge running a Princeton-type offense. I think all of it will help me in the long run."
DeShone will not be getting to know his players entirely from scratch. Some of them are also part of the Jimtown football program, which DeShone - a former Jimmie starting quarterback - is in his fourth year of serving as a part-time assistant.
As for the Jimmie basketball program, it was 9-12 last winter, has lost several experienced players to graduation and moves up this year from Class 2A to 3A. DeShone said he will meet with potential players soon and has not made any decisions about staff.
Randy DeShone, who continued to guide players through part of the summer, went 241-201 over his 20 seasons. His .545 winning percentage is best among Jimtown's last 10 coaches and his win total is best all-time.