Thursday, May 20, 2010

Coach Roger Jury

Roger Jury

H.S Basketball Coach and English Teacher

Marion, Ohio

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the act of coaching is to give instruction or advice to in the capacity of a coach or to instruct. In the same dictionary, the word teaches is defined as to impart knowledge of or skill in; give instruction in. If one interprets the definitions as I do, they are one in the same. Nevertheless, I have yet to have a coach teach or a teacher coaches me. As I talked with Coach Jury, I found out they are much alike but different in many ways. This profile focus on a coach who happened to be able to teach.

I first met Coach Roger Jury as a junior at Marion Harding High School. He had been hired to save; I meant coach, the dying boy’s basketball program at the school. However, I never talked to him that year. I was not into basketball and I did not have him for English class. The fact he was an English teacher was shocking. Who ever heard of a coach who taught anything other than history or gym? This new coach was defiantly an oddity to many students at Harding.
However, why did he break the habit that most coaches have, it was his seventh grade English teacher. He told me that she severed as a huge inspiration to become an English teacher, and he has not waved off the path yet. To quote Jury, “A lot of people change their majors a lot of times or have different ideas of what they want to do. It was because of her, Miss Kissling, for the English aspect more than anybody else, even though there were many good teachers.” After being in her class, Roger decided that he was going to become an English teacher, and well that is exactly what he did. Well, expect for a brief stint as principal at Cardington -Lincoln high school for nine years.
Along with his great teachers came many great coaches. Coach Jury has been playing basketball for most of his 40 plus years on this earth. He started in somewhat of a peewee program when he was younger and has not stopped. The sport along with football was huge where he grew up, a small town called Bucyrus, in north central Ohio. It seemed like the thing to do. Nevertheless, like how he knew he was going to be an English teacher in seventh grade, Coach Jury knew he was going be a coach well before then. He credits back to the coaches that he had growing up. Jury’s experience with great coaches goes back. “I really good coaches even in pee-wee stuff. In my YMCA experiences, I had two good coaches,” he said as we sat in the computer lab waiting for his second period class to come in. In addition, it was because of these coaches that he became one himself and is now helping to turn a struggling basketball program around.
In 2006, Marion City Schools let go of their high school boy’s varsity basketball coach. They were looking to hire a new coach. At the time, Coach Roger Jury was severing as head basketball coach and principal at Cardington-Lincoln high school for around 9 years. He applied for the opening, and was hired, adding another school to his career, which is now spanning twenty years, the last four at his current position, although this is his first division one coaching job. Nevertheless, that does not seem to matter, He has succeeded in starting to turn this struggling program around.
During his four years at Marion Harding high school, many changes have taken place within the basketball program, starting with the youth camps and peewee program. The peewee program is a Saturday morning clinic held during the winter for boys in elementary school. The high school team members are expected to help, and he feels it is good for those boys too. The program had 125 boys this past season and Jury expects it to get bigger. Since the program starts at pre-kindergarten, Coach Jury believes that it helps foster a sense of tradition and family with the program.
When I asked Coach Jury if he felt that, he was successful, he said yes. However, the reasoning was not his records throughout the year. Jury said being successful to him, “it’s probably just the longevity. I have been able to do this a long time. Some people cannot do it that long or very short period. I think success is also enjoying what you are doing. It may seem like I quite busy at sometimes. There is a lot going on. I enjoy doing those things.” In addition, like his success, the best memories that he had come from not winning, but the years when the team really gelled. Along with those years, He also said that the youth basketball camp every summer is a great memory.

“Seeing the kids getting better is some of the best things,” was part of jury’s answer for the question.
However, even with the good comes the bad. Every coach has to go through cutting players but Jury believes that cutting players is one of the worst experiences a coach will go through during his or her career. He also believes that seeing the kids who academics keeps them from making the team is a bad experience that comes from coaching also.
With all he has accomplished during his twenty year coaching career, Jury still has not reached his goals and never will. To him, his goals never are concluded. “We just readjust! No one reached the pinnacle,” he said after the question about his goals was asked. In the end, he has reached his dream, but will never reach any goals he set for his team or himself, because that is just not, what he does. On a parting note, Jury gave me advice for a new coach.

“Be aware. Do not do it for the money. The time and mental aspect can drive some away!”

In 2010, Marion Harding high school had its first winning boy’s basketball season in a good number of years. The team set many school records, and made it to the district tournament before losing to Perrysburg high school. The team finished the year with a 20-2 record. Jury was named the greater buckeye conference coach of the year and Northwest Ohio and District 6 coach of the year honors.

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