BENTON — Mark Hofer admitted he almost did a double take when looking through the resumes for the open boys basketball coaching position at Fairfield High School.
The school’s athletic director could hardly believe what he was looking at when he saw a name that will be very familiar to area prep basketball fans.
It was the resume of Randy DeShone, the longtime Jimtown High School mentor.
“I almost couldn’t believe we had a chance to get not only an excellent coach with a state championship under his belt, but just as important someone who is a great man,” Hofer said. “To get a man of his quality is something.
“He is genuine. Today’s kids can spot a phony and Randy is not a phony.”
DeShone was hired by the Fairfield Community Schools Board of Trustees at its meeting Thursday night.
“I’m excited to get started,” DeShone said. “I love the size of the school and the reputation it has.”
He will be taking over for Troy Beachy, who stepped down after last season, his eighth leading the Falcons.
“I met with Troy for about three hours. I knew him before, but now I really know him” DeShone said. “Troy told me Fairfield is a school with great parents and great kids. I love the fact I’m coming to a great school with great kids that know and love the game.”
Coming from Jimtown, which is a similar sized school, DeShone is already accustomed to having students participate in multiple sports and other extra-curricular activities.
“A lot of athletes at Fairfield are involved in multiple sports and other activities. It was the same way at Jimtown. In fact, at one time I had a requirement that my players be in either the band or choir, because it was important for them to know what those kids go through.”
Hofer agrees about the need for kids to be involved in as many activities as possible.
“You need that at a school our size,” he said. “They are only in high school once so it is important for them to experience as much as possible.
DeShone is best known for the time he spent coaching the Jimtown Jimmies. He was at the school from 1991 to 2011. The Jimmies were 241-201 under his guidance. The highlight of his tenure was the only boys state basketball championship ever won by an Elkhart County school. That win was the Class 2A championship in 2004.
He also coached two years at Elkhart Central before going into the business world. In 22 years of coaching his teams had a combined record of 263-225.
DeShone now works for Genius Phone Solutions, a company that repairs mobile devices like iPads, computers and phones.
“We can repair basically any electronic device. We can also help companies recycle their devices,” he said. “In the past companies had to pay someone to get rid of electronics items. We can find buyers so instead of having to pay someone to get rid of those devices they might get some money for them.”
DeShone will be the eighth coach in Fairfield history. Terry Rickard was the first from 1967-1978 posting a record of 157-86, followed by John Wysong 45-23 in three seasons, Glenn Swanson 57-53 in five, Steve Wiktorowski 78-78 in seven, Larry Lael 37-9 in two, Scott Miller 82-53 in six, Wysong 125-98 in 10 and Beachy 107-80 in eight.
He has been out of coaching for the past couple of seasons.
“When he was not coaching he was home too much,” his wife Tracey quipped.
DeShone is not only interested in turning out quality players on the court, but individuals who are capable of making a contribution to society beyond their playing careers.
“I have been a teacher, a coach, an administrator and a businessman. No matter which one you are, in you are all trying to do the same thing, teach people things that you hope will make them a better person,” DeShone said. “In all my years of coaching I have never had an NCAA DI scholarship athlete, but I could give you about eight or 10 kids that are head basketball coaches.”
Two head coaches are in his own family. His son Derrick played on the 2004 Jimtown state championship team and now coaches the Concord boys team. His daughter Sarah is the girls coach at Mishawaka.
“They both coach the same way I do,” the elder DeShone said. “You have certain things you focus on like defense and then you kind of figure out what you can do based on the players you have.”
DeShone is a Concord High School graduate. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Ball State University, his master’s degree for Indiana University South Bend and his administration license from Bethel College.
Tracey DeShone is a teacher at Monger Elementary School in Elkhart.
Greg Keim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-533-2151, ext. 326. Follow Greg on Twitter @gkeim_TGN