After playing basketball at Andover as a Post-Graduate, Head Coach Terrell Ivory ’00 played professional basketball for the Manchester Magic, an English basketball team, and worked with Stephen Curry during Curry’s collegiate career while Director of Basketball Operations at Davidson College.
During his time as a student at Andover, Ivory was able to improve all facets of his character which propelled him to seek further opportunities in basketball upon graduation.
Ivory said, “I would say, in general, coming to Andover changed my life for the better. It put me in a position where I could grow as a student, as an athlete, and as a person. The basketball team was great. For me, the basketball part of it, at least, was about trying to help myself go from playing at a D3 level to see if I could get a scholarship at the D1 level,” said Ivory.
Following his career at Andover, Ivory walked on to the team at Davidson, where he received a scholarship his Senior year. Upon graduation, he then traveled to the United Kingdom to play basketball for Manchester Magic.
Ivory said that he was able to play for them as a result of his coach at Davidson’s connections with the team.
“I knew I wanted to continue playing as long as possible but I also had to find the level that was appropriate for me.… It was an unbelievable opportunity. It was sort of like a gap year. When you play professional basketball overseas you get an apartment, you get a car, you’re paid a monthly stipend,” said Ivory.
Though Ivory values being an active member of competition, he decided coaching would be the best opportunity for him to continue learning about the sport. Ivory coached for the first time as a seventeen-year-old at a basketball camp. Ivory said that, there, he took pride in passing on the lessons he had learned to younger generation of players.
With the assistance of his former coaches at Davidson, Ivory was recruited to coach at Blair Academy. Ivory held the position for three years and was able to deepen his connections with college coaches, as well as work as a math teacher. According to Ivory, teaching and coaching were mutually beneficial.
Ivory left Blair for a coaching position under the guidance of his coach, Bob McKillop, at Davidson, where he was Director of Basketball Operations for the team. After that, Ivory became an assistant coach at Colgate University for one year. Because of his connection to Leon Modeste, Director of Athletics and Instructor of Athletics, Ivory had always wanted to return as a coach at Andover.
“I was just really excited to come back here. I’ve been here for seven years now, and I feel like this is the right level for me. Coaching in college was like a business and the kids were older, but I feel like when you work with younger kids, you can have more of an impact on them. I want to help them as much as possible. I think at this age, you could be a mentor to high school kids in a different way than you can be a mentor to older kids,” said Ivory.
Ivory has not only helped his team’s basketball ability improved, but he is also a point-person on campus for many of his team members.
Marcus Filien PG’19 wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “He tries to remind us daily that he cares deeply about us on a deeper level than just as a basketball player, and that is the most important thing that a coach can do for an athlete. Mr. Ivory is a great communicator and teacher, and he helps us learn and grow every single day, without fail… He brings a special kind of enthusiasm, competitiveness and joy to both practices and games that I have never seen before… He is our fearless leader, and it’s great having someone as special as him lead us through the marathon that is a basketball season.”
Ivory’s definition of success for his team has evolved as he has become more experienced. He believes success stems from the idea of a “next-play” mentality, which he has passed from McKillop to his team at Andover.
“Basketball is a game that is constantly flowing, so there isn’t really a start and a stop after every play. One of the games that I loved learning from Coach McKillop at Davidson was this idea of a ‘next-play’ mentality. He would call basketball a beautiful game, but it’s also a game of mistakes. Knowing that and being able to learn from the mistakes you made. If you make a mistake, not letting that snowball or not letting that put you in a position where you are going to make another mistake,” said Ivory.
Ivory draws parallels between success on the court and lessons in life. According to Ivory, sometimes, no matter the level of work put into a task, sometimes it does not work out the way it is anticipated to.
Ivory said, “For me, success is how we execute, how we compete, did we handle ourselves the right way as far as sportsmanship. Usually when you do those things, you end up winning. But, sometimes you don’t. I think that’s what makes the game beautiful. Sometimes you do everything really well and then it just doesn’t work out, and that’s ok, but if you do those things, to me, that makes the team successful, whether we win or lose. It obviously feels better when you win, but sometimes you don’t and that’s basketball.”