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HCC men's hoops coach steps down

December 16, 2007|By BOB PARASILITI

HAGERSTOWN - Terry Truax came to Hagerstown Community College with hopes of putting the men's basketball team back on the winning path.

That plan has detoured not long after it left the garage.

Truax resigned as HCC's coach after Saturday's game in the Pepsi Challenge at Allegany College because of his inability to find a teaching position or other outside employment for added income for the second semester.

"The basketball job didn't pay enough and there wasn't another job to help subsidize my income," Truax said. "That's it. Period. Exclamation point."

So Truax will be forced to secede from the job before succeeding at it.

"We are making a change in basketball coaches," HCC athletic director Bo Myers said Saturday in an official statement. "Terry Truax has resigned and we are naming Ryan Devlin the interim head coach, pending Board of Trustees approval. Terry has chosen to seek employment elsewhere."

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Devlin, a 25-year-old graduate of Waynesboro (Pa.) Area Senior High School, will be elevated from first-year assistant to the top position for the 10-3 Hawks. Earl Redden also will be retained as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.

Truax spent 12 years at the Division I college level as an assistant at North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Colorado and Mississippi State before spending 14 years as head coach at Towson State.

He also had coached international and professional teams. He accepted the job April 28 to take over the HCC program from Kenny Keyes.

The Hancock native, who played for longtime HCC coach Jim Brown during his high school days, relished the idea of coming home to help the community college. He played for Brown at Hancock High School before heading to play at the University of Maryland in 1967-68 as a teammate of present Terrapins coach Gary Williams.

Truax accepted the HCC job knowing there was a catch to it.

"When coach Brown left (retiring in 2002), there were no longer full-time positions in the athletic department," Truax said. "There were no surprises. I knew that this was a possibility. The first time I talked with Bo, he told me that it wasn't a full-time position."

Women's basketball coach Marlys Palmer is the only full-time coach/instructor out of the 25 coaches in the 14 sports in HCC's athletic department. Palmer has been with the college since 1979.

Truax applied for teaching positions with the Washington County and Berkeley County (W.Va.) school systems, but was turned down. Despite obtaining a master's degree at the University of North Carolina, Truax didn't have the proper accreditation to be hired.

He was hired as an adjunct professor to HCC's English department in the fall semester.

"I taught four developmental English classes at the college," Truax said. "I turned in the grades and I was as proud of what I accomplished with these students as I have been with anything else I have done. No one misled me. I was confused. I thought that if you do a good job, things would work out."

Everything began to change on Nov. 6, just three days after Truax made his weekend debut as HCC's coach with two wins in the Region XX Hall of Fame Tournament at the HCC athletic complex. He found out he wasn't teaching as he paged through the school's winter catalog.

"That's when the bombshell hit. I found out on Nov. 6 that I didn't have any classes on campus," Truax said. "I was notified that the English department was only going to offer two classes next semester and they were both filled by instructors."

Truax tried to get other positions, but everything else, including classes in the physical education department, were filled by the teaching roster. The final option for Truax was to survive on his coaching stipend for the next three months.

"We were very happy to have Terry during the time he was here," Myers said. "We just came to a mutual agreement."

The turn of events ended Truax's plans to take up residence in Washington County and move his wife up from North Carolina. Now, Truax will be heading south before taking a job with a friend in Las Vegas.

In the meantime, the Hawks have responded to Truax's change in philosophy and have built early momentum in the season, stamped by Friday's victory over 11th-ranked Vincennes University in the first round of the Allegany mixer. Myers, Truax and the coaching staff met with HCC's players on Thursday to inform them of the impending change.

"I didn't get to do some things that I would have liked to have done," Truax said. "I didn't get out into the community as much as I would have liked. My focus was on the kids getting better and developing. Ryan will do a good job. All he needs is experience, and how else is he going to get it? It's too bad because there were many more positives here than negatives."

Truax's hiring was to become the start of a new age for HCC athletics. Instead, it has become some positive gains screeching to status quo.

"There are no glitches or negatives to the job, the college, the community or the booster club," Truax said. "In fairness to everyone, this is all like basketball. You either win or you don't. I probably could have been more aggressive in looking for outside employment."

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