Idaho’s two most successful high school girls basketball coaches both announced their resignations Monday.
Rocky Mountain’s Emery Roy leaves with nine girls basketball state titles, the most in state history. And Middleton’s Andy Jones steps down with six state championships to his name, the second most in state history.
The duo won a combined 1,191 games in Idaho, creating a void on the sidelines as high school programs begin preparing for their offseason.
“I never did get into it thinking I was going to win so many titles or whatever,” Roy said. “You’re just coaching and things happen.”
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Coach Emery Roy built and sustained championship cultures for decades. Roy raised the bar for girls basketball in Idaho. His programs were the ones every coach tried to emulate.
Connie Skogrand, Mountain View High coach
MOVING TO ASSISTANT ROLE
For the first time in 41 seasons, Roy is going to be taking orders from someone else.
The longtime coach announced his retirement Monday as the head girls coach at Rocky so he can become an assistant for his son, Dane Roy, who just led the Rocky Mountain boys team to back-to-back state titles.
Emery began his career at Meridian High in 1977-78 and went on to an 817-187 career record (.814 winning percentage). His nine state championships are the most of any basketball coach in Idaho history — boys or girls. And he also won seven state titles as a golf coach at Centennial.
“I was probably going to go one or two more years with the girls, but (Dane) had an opening, and he said, ‘Hey, why don’t you come coach with me?’ ” Emery said. “I thought about it for a while. It’s tough, because I really liked the girls that I coached this year. But it’s an opportunity to do something different and coach with my son. He was my assistant for a couple years, so now I guess I can be his assistant.”
Emery led Meridian to four straight state titles between 1980-83 before moving to Centennial when it opened in 1987. He won five more state championships with the Patriots and became Rocky Mountain’s head coach in 2012.
In 2015, Emery was chosen to coach the West team at the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Girls Game.
“He really loves and cares about kids,” Rocky Mountain Athletic Director Troy Rice said. “He’s just so passionate about coaching. It’s part of his DNA.”
“A lot of coaches, a few years ago, would have probably decided to hang it up when we weren’t doing quite as well as we had. But what always impressed me about Emery was that after every season, he always came back in my office and was excited to get back to work, coach the kids and get them better. He always had a positive outlook on the next year. He’s just a tremendous human being.”
Emery, 72, isn’t sure how many more years he’ll keep coaching alongside his son.
“Until he cans me,” Emery joked. “I haven’t coached boys for so long, it’s going to be a little adjustment there, but I think it will be fun. I’m on a one-year basis.”
Emery estimates between 41 years of regular season and summer ball, he’s coached more than 2,000 games in his career.
“He knows so much. His knowledge is so vast,” Dane said. “I’ve told him, ‘Step on my toes as much as you possibly can. Don’t feel like you need to ask me before you say something.’
“He’s going to be his own man, his own coach, and that’s what I want from him. Just to hear that voice. Kids will get a kick out of it, I hope.”
While winning certainly added to the fun, Emery says the most rewarding part of coaching has always been about the relationships.
His former players feel the same.
“There never once was a time when I did not want to go to basketball practice, because Coach Roy created such a great environment and you knew he cared so much about all of us,” said Centennial graduate Sofia Huerta, who is now a professional soccer player. “On top of that, he just knew what he was talking about. It is so easy to respect a coach when they are good at what they do.
“It is easy to just listen to them and to trust them, and I think that is the No.1 thing that he did. He was so easy to just trust the process with. Every drill we did, anything that we did, we never questioned him because he’s a legend in Boise.”
JONES BUILT POWERHOUSE AT MIDDLETON
Jones steps down from Middleton with a 317-89 record (.781) with the program, leading the Vikings to nine district titles and 13 state tournament appearances in 16 years.
But the 52-year-old said it’s time to pursue other interests, namely his master’s degree in athletic administration.
“I’m not closing the door on any coaching possibilities,” Jones said. “It just seems like right now is a good time to step back from this job here, and they could probably use a little fresh blood here as well.”
Jones led Middleton to state championships in 2008, ’10, ’11, ’12 and ’17. Between the 2010-11 and 2012-13 seasons, the Vikings won 72 straight games, then the longest active winning streak in the country.
A Wheatland, Wyo., native, Jones graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1990 and accepted his first job in Elbert, Colo., where he coached the school’s varsity boys and girls basketball teams, as well as the junior high boys and girls teams.
All four teams played on the same night, and Jones would coach four straight games.
“It was a lot of experience in one year,” Jones joked.
Jones came to the Treasure Valley in 1994-95, when he took over the Caldwell girls basketball program. He coached the Cougars for eight years before heading to Middleton, and he led Caldwell to the only state title in program history in 2001.
Between Middleton and Caldwell, Jones racked up a 374-199 record (.653) in Idaho.
Despite all the victories and championships, Jones said his favorite memories came during the summer on long road trips with his teams.
“I’m totally biased. It seems like the girls who play basketball, it’s a special kid that’s willing to sacrifice the time and the energy that it takes to play basketball,” Jones said.
“... I’ve been to weddings and held babies and see them all the time. Those are the best memories. The success we’ve had, there’s not much substitute for winning. It’s been a lot of fun having success here with the program, but it’s mostly the relationship with the kids that you build.”
The high school coaches with the most girls basketball state titles in Idaho history.