BENTON — He's back.
Randy DeShone, the only Elkhart County boys basketball coach to win a state title, has officially been named the new coach at Fairfield High School.
The Fairfield School Board approved the hire at a meeting on Thursday evening. He replaces Troy Beachy, who resigned earlier this spring after eight years as the Falcons' head coach.
DeShone has a career record of 263-225 over his 22-year coaching career, the first 20 at Jimtown, where he led the Jimmies to the 2003-2004 Class 2A state title. He is also a three-time Elkhart Truth Coach of the Year.
After time as an administrator at South Bend St. Joseph High School and Northridge High, DeShone went into private business, before the Fairfield job helped lure him back into coaching.
"Coaching is always in your blood,'' DeShone said on Thursday. "I always respected Fairfield when I was coaching in the past. It's a lot like Jimtown, a school with about 500 kids, which to me is the perfect size. Students can do anything from choir to band, to sports to drama ... you can get the full range of involvement.''
DeShone's state championship team posted a 25-2 record, beating Brownstown Central for the title. The Jimmies were 19-3 the next year, losing to a John Glenn team that reached the 2A semistate.
Randy's son Derrick played on both those teams and is now the head basketball coach at Concord. Randy DeShone's daughter Sarah, who helped lead Jimtown to the girls state title game in 2007, is now the girls coach at Mishawaka.
"We talk about coaching all the time and it's part of my joy to watch them coach,'' DeShone admitted. "We have the same philosophies in coaching our programs ... it's all about the kids. I want the players to have fun and I want to help them become a better person in life. I want them to look back in five or 10 years and say they appreciated their time with the team.
"I want the kids to work as a team and do things right, both on and off the court. I want them to respect the game and have a strong work ethic in practice, games and obviously in the classroom.''
DeShone hadn't left coaching completely, as he coached his nephew's sixth grade team in the Concord system last season.
"You're sure not going to get rich coaching, but it's fun if you put the time in and really like the kids. If you have a coaching staff that is close and gets along well and has fun, then you're players are going to have fun too. When you're working hard on something you enjoy, like I do with coaching, work is fun too.''
DeShone said he is still working to build a coaching staff, although he expects the junior varsity and freshman coaches from last year's Fairfield staff to remain.
"I'm very excited about the people involved in basketball here,'' DeShone said. "The coaches love the game and are anxious to get started on next year.''
Fairfield lost six seniors from last season's 15-8 team, including leading scorer and three-year starter Cordell Hofer. However, the Falcons do return second leading scorer Nolin Sharick and will drop to Class 2A next season, while arch-rival Westview moves up to 3A thanks to the IHSAA Success Factor.
"I have talked to Troy Beachy and have really gained a lot of respect for him,'' DeShone admitted. "We have a lot of the same philosophies about developing kids off the court too, so that won't be a big change for the players. Plus, I remember coaching against (Fairfield girls coach) Brodie Garber when he was at Fairfield and I know what kind of quality guy he is too.''