A Legacy on the Court: Metro girls basketball coaches reflect on their years with Coach Terry English


Delaney Johnson

As girls basketball starts Nov. 14, Blue Valley North head coach Ann Fritz and Aquinas head coach Rick Hetzel carry the remembrance of Terry English into their season.

Alena Gillespie, Web Editor-in-Chief

Twenty-two state basketball titles with 910 wins and only 168 losses: these numbers are ones former head coach Terry English achieved in the span of his 40-plus years here. 

But he left a legacy greater than can be measured in statistics. As the winter sports season kicks off Monday, metro area coaches carry the remembrance of him into their seasons after his death on Oct. 11. 

Blue Valley North head girls basketball coach, Ann Fritz, has known English since she was in high school, as her two sisters played for him in the ‘80s. 

“He always taught his kids to play hard,” Fritz said. “Coach English was very competitive, but a really good person at heart.”

According to Fritz, English’s success on the court is what she aims to achieve. 

“I was always trying to beat Miege and get my program to where his program was,” Fritz said. “He always set the standards for me as a coach.”

Fritz has coached at Blue Valley North for 27 years. 

“As long as I’ve been doing basketball, English has been part of it,” Fritz said. “It will be weird because I really do not know basketball without him. He was always a role model.” 

As a Catholic rival, Saint Thomas Aquinas head girls basketball coach Rick Hetzel said that playing against Miege is like competing against a  brother. 

“As a coach you want to say that every game is just as important, but there is something a little bit different,” Hetzel said. “It is just more exciting. People care more, and you can just feel it in the gym.” 

This season is Hetzel’s 25th year as Aquinas head coach and he attributes part of his coaching ability to finding ways to compete against English’s success. 

“The best compliment I can give him is that he made me a better coach just by the fact of how hard we had to play against Miege each time,” Hetzel said. 

Both Fritz and Hetzel said the thing they will miss most about English is his competitiveness. 

“I would like to think that he brought out the best in me, and I think the same that I did for him also,” Hetzel said. 

According to Fritz, playing English each season was memorable. 

“Every time you played him, there was something special,” Fritz said. “He set the standards for girls basketball in the Kansas City area. Everyone is trying to reach him.”