Coaches Clark and Coach DeLoatch inspire their teams

Let’s Play Some Relentless Basketball


Macee Dippery, Staff Writer

On the outside, the basketball coaches prepare their athletes for competition, but to their players, Coach Jason Clark and Coach Lloyd DeLoatch are mentors, inspirations, and family.

“I moved here to become a head coach,” said Coach DeLoatch, who has been the boys’ basketball coach for seven seasons.

Coach Llyod DeLoach doesn’t hesitate to have his voice heard on the court. (Photo by: M. Dippery)

DeLoatch played basketball all the way through high school and college and then professionally in Sweden. DeLoatch’s mantra, ”relentless” can be applied on and off the court.

“He [DeLoatch] prepares us for more than just basketball, it’s also school, life, and the little things,” said senior Jaden Green.

Coach Clark, who has been coaching girls’ varsity basketball for three years, works hard to make his team a family. 

Coach Jason Clark expects the best from his team. (Photo by: M. Dippery)

“One thing we say is ‘Salem on 3, Family on 6’ and I think the ‘family’ aspect is something we try to bring to the team,” said Clark. “It’s important to me and also for my players. They have a group of sisters that they probably don’t have at home that they can just hang out with, talk with, and socialize with. That’s really the foundation of a successful team to me.” 

Communication, collaboration, and strategy on the court make our teams relentless. Both coaches see the importance of creating strong relationships between players to reach each goal as a team. 

“Everybody is different in their own ways and he [Deloach] wants to put that together,” said senior Jaeden McMurrin.

Just like McMurrin, most players see their coaches for who they truly are, mentors. 

“I feel like I can come to Coach Clark in my most vulnerable state and he will still have my back or at least guide me in the right way on and off the court,” said senior Jocelyn Johnston.

Senior Reckoe Elliot gets some air for a behind the back shot. (Photo by: M. Dippery)

The players change as a result of playing under each coach and take away life skills from their experiences when they graduate. 

“My basketball journey under Coach DeLoatch has been a patient journey basically waiting for my time, but still putting work in because if you’re not, that moment you’re waiting for, you’ll miss and it will show the work was not put in,” said senior Reckoe Elliot, Co-captain of the boys’ basketball team who has played all four years.

In contrast, senior Jaden Green left after his freshman year and has now re-joined the team. He thanks Coach DeLoatch for helping him get back into basketball. 

“He has helped me a lot in getting my confidence back, playing basketball because I was young and really didn’t get to play on varsity a lot, so I really had no hope,” said Green. “I remember there was this one day where he pulled me into his room, and just talked to me about it. He said he believed I could really be a part of this team and how much he trusts me and wants me to keep playing.”

Not only have the players grown as people, but so have the coaches. Coach Clark noted how he has had to learn more about how the sport impacts females in order to prevent injuries. He has also learned new perspectives on team building while working with the girls. 

The girls’ team’s love and respect for each other can be seen in their comradery and teamwork. (Photo by: M. Dippery)

“The number one thing is patience because I have to deal with more things on the girls’ side than I had to deal with on the boys’ side,” said Clark.

Using what they have learned, Clark and DeLoatch work with their teams daily after school. 

“The season has started and we are off to a little slower start than we would like, but, you know in the coaching world, I’ve seen that before. I’ve seen that turnaround. We have a good group of guys that work really hard,” said DeLoatch.

“Right now, we are in a slump because we got four losses, but that’s nothing for us. Once we come together as a team, we can be something great,” said McMurrin.

According to senior Elysia Brown the girls’ team’s “biggest focus has been about getting a ring and becoming a better team.”

These teams could not function without DeLoatch and Clark. They are both incredibly dedicated, patient, and cooperative. Follow the games on Tuesdays and Fridays.