Lompoc High has turned to a former quarterback to help revive the Braves boys basketball program.
Paul Terrones, who ran the LHS offense from 1999 to 2000 and later worked under his wife Claudia with the girls basketball team, was named the new varsity boys basketball head coach during the weekend of April 22.
Terrones, a Class of 2001 graduate, said his growing affinity for round ball led to his interest in taking over as the varsity leader at his alma mater.
“Over the years, I’ve fallen in love with the game of basketball,” Terrones said. “I’ve learned a lot from Claudia while working under her. Plus I’ve become a student of the game. When I watch a game on television, I’m following what coaches do on the sidelines.”
Terrones experienced high levels of excitement when he learned he would be the man taking control of the boys basketball program.
“Initially I was excited, pumped and ready to go,” Terrones said. “I’m excited to take on the challenge.”
He’ll be taking over for Eliot Davis, who was let go by LHS last month after going 39-34 overall in three seasons, but endured a 6-20 campaign with his team last season.
Terrones cites Davis as one of his chief mentors when it comes to learning the game of basketball, saying “We would often bounce around ideas when we talked about the game.”
He adds that Hancock College women’s basketball head coach Cary Nerelli is another driving force in Terrones’ basketball interest — plus is aiming to run a program that resembles the successful model Nerelli has put together in Santa Maria.
But Terrones’ big influence on the basketball side is a revered name on West College Ave. — Bryan Ayer, who has his namesake emblazoned on the basketball court at LHS.
“I didn’t get a chance to play for him, but being around him and learning from him makes me want to emulate what he did here,” Terrones said.
As Terrones eases into his new role, he’s aware that certain interests will have to become diluted as he makes his transition and that includes taking on a lesser role with the Braves’ football staff. Terrones has served as an assistant under head coach Andrew Jones since returning to the campus as a geometry and math teacher. Terrones has said he’ll take on whatever role suits him on the football field.
His biggest priority is building the future of Braves basketball, and that starts with putting together a coaching staff under his watch. Terrones hasn’t decided on what kind of system he plans to run, which includes whether or not he wants to run Claudia Terrones’ “run-and-gun” approach that’s turned the girls basketball program into a perennial Los Padres League title contender. But Terrones has this idea — he wants to keep the tempo and pressure that past Brave teams have had, including the ones under Davis.
“The roots will be there. Once I put together a staff, we’ll make those decisions (on what to run),” Terrones said.
Lastly, Terrones hasn’t gotten a chance to meet with the entire returning boys basketball players, but says he has a previous relationship with them through his football work.
“Most of our kids are football players, so I already feel like I have a positive relationship with those kids,” Terrones said. “It (the response from the kids) has been positive so far. They’ve been anxious to figure out who the coach is and anxious to get back on the court.”