Moraine Valley Community College has left an outstanding presence at its athletics. While being part of the NJCAA, Moraine has been participating in several intercollegiate sports, but the highest praise goes to the women’s basketball team. And their coaches deserve nothing less but some recognition as well. Among them is Dewyl Jones, who, by now, plays the role of the head coach for the 17th year at Moraine.
How did you get into coaching a basketball team?
I kind of slip into it. When I began coaching on 03 we won several games, that team played hard. We lost 23 times but we enjoyed loosing those 23 times. And the next years just got better and better. It became kind of an obsession for me after a while. I was good at basketball, but I excel at baseball, and even better at football. But I always understood the game. The game was always cerebral for me, and I want my players to be thinkers as well.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had as their coach?
Getting fifteen young female student athletes to get along through the season, and to work together, has been a challenge every year. Keeping us all on one page, keeping us going on the same direction, trying to get them to buy into a role player is never easy to do. The biggest challenge for me is to get them to a solid institution after Moraine, the promise I give to them is that I will do everything that I can– I can’t guarantee it – but I give them everything that I can to get them where they want to go. It’s very important to me that they find happiness at the four year level.
How do you motivate them into getting on the same page?
To buy into the team concept, every great organization has to work together and most situations one person doing something is not going to move the train, you need a group of people to get things together. I use this term called “Chili Sauce”, which is taken different pieces of ingredients to put together, you put the Chili Sauce cast on a skillet, the foundation has to be solid, and when you stir those up and the chili becomes one in the end but it was a lot of different little spices that go into that to me it right. That is the way I try to do it. Everybody counts. And if you’re thinking only about yourself, well, you’ll mess up the Chili Sauce.
What are the foundations of a successful Basketball team?
You need teamwork; effort – to be a team player you need to give a hundred percent effort to your team. You need to give everything you have and if you aren’t successful at what you’re trying to do, then you got and try again the next time. You also need talent, you need players that want to work to get better; and you need student athletes that are focusing on their classwork – I probably should’ve put that one first.
What is the difference in the dynamics between teaching a male basketballs team and a female one?
I enjoy coaching women more than I do coaching guys. Boys are more athletic; but most boys are close-minded. Girls are actually more fundamentally sound. But they struggle with confidence a lot of times. A girl would take ten shots and hit four of them and worry about the six that she missed. If the same thing happens to a guy he would talk about how glorious he is for hitting those four. It’s a different approach, and I have found that women are more emotional, in a good and bad way. And they carry that emotion a little longer, but they focus on the negative, not the positive. That’s another challenge, keep them into a positive attitude.
Students tend to learn a lot from their coaches, what can you say you have learned from them?
I think the worst thing that you can do is get to a certain age and not be able to listen to the new ideas that are coming out, and that might be better than the old ideas. So, just talking and hearing how certain people deal with things, and sometimes I learn from the things they don’t do as well, and think, ‘Am I doing the same thing?’ They keep me abreast on the music, on technology, on the different social things that are going on, the fashion, and so forth.