Terrance Gillette isn’t the first high school coach who took a different career path than the one he planned.
“I should have been a doctor,” Gillette said. “But then there was math. We just didn’t get along that well.”
The care and precision Gillette offers as Broadmoor High’s basketball coach reminds some people of a doctor’s bedside manner. All kidding about math aside, Gillette knows his most significant number these days is two — as in two teams.
“When (the school administrators) asked me about coaching the boys and girls teams, I told them I’d only do it if I could do it for two years,” Gillette said. “That way I’d have a second year to correct the mistakes I made the first year. And they agreed.”
Good move by the Broadmoor administration and even better moves by the 42-year-old Gillette, who has both teams winning in Year 2 of his two-year plan. The Bucs have a 14-5 girls record and were the EBR tourney runner-up. The BHS boys are 10-6, already more than doubling last year’s 4-20 record.
“When (Gillette) decided to start coaching the boys, it didn’t bother me,” Broadmoor girls player Honchea Thornton said.
“I knew it would work out. I knew we’d all be taken care of. He’s a coach who’s there for us. Now we’re one big family.”
Coaching two teams in the same season is not unheard of, but it is rare, especially at a Class 5A school like Broadmoor.
Former Parkview Baptist coach Don Green coached the school’s boys and girls teams in 3A through last season. Current Capitol coach Alvin Stewart coached both teams for a number of years, including the years when he had future LSU stars Seimone Augustus and Brandon Bass playing for his teams.
“Alvin was the person I talked to,” Gillette said. “He told me practice was the biggest logistical problem, and that the games were the easy part. That surprised me, but I now know that’s true.”
Gillette knew he needed to approach the two-team challenge with a plan, a solid group of assistant coaches and the blessing of his family.
Gillette’s father, Thomas, teams with Eric Kelly, Willie Moore Jr., Tom Dodson and Paul Greer to fill the assistant coach roles.
“There are times when I ask (the assistant coaches) to take over certain things for me,” Gillette said. “When one team is playing and the other is practicing, I’ll stay at practice and let those guys take the team to the game. I’ll get there right before game time. My wife and family are really patient, which I appreciate.”
Installing similar offenses and defenses for both has been crucial. He’s also taken a page from Stewart’s book and combines practices for 30 to 45-minutes on certain days, giving his eight-member girls team someone to scrimmage against.
“The one thing all the players see is how much he (Gillette) cares about them, and that goes a long way,” Kelly said. “(Broadmoor players) want to play for him. Terrance is so organized, which you have to be to make this work. He’s got a plan or strategy for just about everything.”
Gillette does have one factor to deal with that Green and Stewart didn’t. Most schools play back-to-back boys and girls games once their district schedule begins. District 4-5A plays its boys and girls games on the same nights but at different sites.
To compensate for that, Gillette has moved all the Bucs’ home games to Monday or Thursday, allowing the team to play on the road against either a boys or girls opponent Tuesdays and Fridays.
“I try to make it a point to thank the other schools in our district for allowing us to do this,” Gillette said. “It’s worked so far.”
And work is the key for Gillette, who spent part of Saturday installing new padding in the Broadmoor High gym with Kelly once the Bucs finished their practice.
Gillette is the first to admit he’s come a long way. The former Lee High player carried towels for Kenny Almond’s Rebels team that played for the 4A state title in 1982, a few years before he played there. He played at Dillard and became a volunteer assistant girls coach at Glen Oaks after a car accident ended his career as a player.
“Janice Charles (then the GOHS coach girls coach) and Harvey Adger (GOHS boys coach) encouraged me,” Gillette said. “Several guys went to Glen Oaks to practice against their teams. I was the one who stuck around. Janice told me I needed to get back in school and get my degree so I could coach.”
Gillette, who is in his 13th season as the Broadmoor girls coach, has won over the BHS boys squad.
“Some guys weren’t happy when (Gillette) was named the coach but I was,” Malik Jackson said. “My first two years it was about what individuals would do. Now it’s about the team and playing as a team. I think that’s why we’re better now.”