Another big-name Ankeny coach heads to Centennial

Another big-name Ankeny coach heads to Centennial

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Another big-name Ankeny coach heads to Centennial

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Scott DeJong, who led the Ankeny girls’ basketball program to six state championships, is the latest coach to leave for the town’s new north-side school.
He will move to Ankeny Centennial this fall, when the school district splits into two high schools.
“It was an easy decision because my son (Zachary) is in seventh grade, and he’s going to go to Centennial. We live on (the north) side,” DeJong said. “But it’s certainly a decision I wish I wouldn’t have had to make, because putting in 20 years in the Ankeny Hawkette basketball program and being involved with all aspects of Ankeny … it’s not easy to stop that.”
DeJong, who owns a career record of 512-117, became the 31st coach in state history to reach the 500-win mark this season. He has guided Ankeny to 14 state tournament appearances. Four of his six titles came in succession from 2002 to 2005.
DeJong turned in one of his best coaching jobs this season, taking a team with only one returning starter and reaching the semifinals of the Class 5-A state tournament. The Hawkettes finished 20-5 after losing to eventual champion Southeast Polk, 40-38, on Friday.
“The girls kept working hard and through adversity I think they grew stronger, and that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes you go the other way,” DeJong said. “From the first day of practice to the end, I think there was great growth and it’s a tribute to a great coaching staff and a great group of girls.”
Many of Ankeny’s top returning players will be joining DeJong at Centennial. That list includes sophomore center Jaali Winters, who was named to the 5-A all-tournament team.
“It’s crazy to think that I won’t play for Ankeny again,” Winters said. “But I’m so excited for next year.”
Two more starters — junior forward Gabby Helmbrecht and junior guard Sarah Brandt — are headed to Centennial, as is one of the team’s top reserves in freshman forward Tasha Vipond.
“I don’t see any big changes,” DeJong said. “The only thing that will really change is the color of the uniform. We’re going to play the same style, and we’re going to have a lot of the same kids and a lot of the same coaches, and we hope that we just take off from where we left off.”
DeJong becomes the fourth Ankeny coach with at least one state championship on his resume to make the move to Centennial.
Legendary football coach Jerry Pezzetti revealed in January that he would be heading to Centennial to lead the Jaguars’ football program this fall. Baseball coach Mark Hey and girls’ soccer coach Chris Allen are also headed to the north side.

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Another big-name Ankeny coach heads to Centennial
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