As coaches, brothers see the other side of baseball

NEIGHBORS

April 07, 2002|By Sue du Pont | Sue du Pont,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

JUSTIN TERRY has played sports all his life, and his goal is to become a full-time coach.

He is well on his way to reaching that dream, having landed his first coaching job at his alma mater, South River High School.

At age 21, Terry is in charge of the South River Seahawks' junior varsity baseball team. He is working under his former coach, Ken Dunn, the head baseball coach at the school.

Justin's older brother, Tom Terry, helps as a volunteer. Together they are having fun, learning a lot and giving a great deal to the kids they coach.

Dunn knows of no other team in the county with two brothers who have come back to coach together, and he is delighted to be working with them.

"They both went through the program and know what's expected," Dunn says. "They are full of enthusiasm and knowledge of the game. They have a lot to offer."

Tom and Justin were outstanding, multisport athletes in high school. Tom was a Capital Gazette all-county outfielder in 1995 and set the county stolen-base record in 1994, stealing 35 in 36 attempts. Justin pitched and played first base. He continued playing at Anne Arundel Community College, where he earned a degree in physical education.

Justin was a Capital Gazette all-county player in football in 1997 and in baseball in 1998.

Dunn remembers both brothers as assertive and confident; they enjoyed what they were doing, were self-motivated, and always gave an honest effort.

Athletic ability and a positive attitude seem to run in the family. Their father, Tom Terry, was a quarterback for Annapolis High School. He played on the same team as Bill Belichick, who was a center and is head coach of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

The elder Terry holds the county record for most touchdown passes in one game - six - which he set in 1970.

For Justin, coaching is a fun learning experience, but it's not always what he expected.

"I've always seen it from the players' side. Now I'm seeing it from the other side," he says.

Justin never knew how hard making cuts would be until he had to reduce the squad by 10 players. He spends more time than expected working on line-ups for practices and games. "We have such a good team and they all want to play, so it's hard," Terry says.

He also spends time coordinating transportation to the practice field in Mayo and waiting for parents to pick up their children.

Sally Terry, Tom and Justin's mother, was always been supportive. She kept statistics during the games and claims to have been the one cheering loudest in the stands.

Both brothers, she says, have had to make sacrifices to coach. Justin has shifted his work schedule to 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. so that he can be ready for his players by 2:30 p.m.

Tom doesn't have as much flexibility. "If he is running late, he'll call on the cell phone and help coordinate things," says Dunn.

Because the junior varsity players are relatively young, the Terrys spend a lot of time teaching the kids the game.

"We let them have fun and teach them the basics so they learn to do it right," Tom says. "Then they have more fun."

The Terrys' attitude and knowledge of the game is paying off. Their team is off to a good start, with a 2-1 record in their 16-game season.

But most important, the players, their coaches and parents are having fun. With positive attitudes, a strong work ethic and a head coach who carries personal cards that read, "Don't say it can't be done, say it `Ken B. Dunn,' " the coaches and players seem on their way to accomplishing whatever goals they set.

Something of a county anomaly, South River High has three alumni coaching under Dunn, a physical education teacher who has coached basketball and baseball since the school opened in the late 1970s. In addition to Justin and Tom Terry, Dave Kauffman, an assistant to Dunn, also is a graduate.

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