Since the COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on many athletics, get to know the coaches of Vermillion High School athletics.
Jon Brooks is the VHS girls’ basketball coach in the winter season. He is also the middle school computer teacher and the assistant technology director.
“Being a VHS graduate, I never knew I would be back here coaching,” said Brooks. “After college, I took a teaching job in South Sioux City, Nebraska, and started coaching girls basketball as an assistant coach. If anyone knows the tradition of girls basketball in South Sioux City, it is second to none.”
Brooks loved the girls’ game while at South Sioux City.
“I saw how passionate the coaches, players, and community were about their program, and it inspired me to want to do the same if I was ever a head coach,” said Brooks. “After four years at South Sioux City, the Vermillion job came open, and I couldn't pass it up. It was difficult leaving South Sioux City, but having the chance to come back home and run the girls' program here was really a dream job for me.”
There are a lot of great memories for Brooks throughout his past seven years at VHS, but making it to the 2017 state tournament in Brookings was special.
“It really brought all the kids from previous teams to our current team all together,” said Brooks. “We knew how much hard work we had put in to get to that point, and it has led to what we still do today in our program.”
Vermillion played Hamlin in the first game of the tournament and won to go against Lennox.
“Beating an undefeated Hamlin team in the first round and having a classic battle with Lennox in the semifinals was so much fun,” said Brooks. “Even though we lost to Lennox, it was one of the better games I've ever been involved in and the atmosphere that night was incredible.”
The VHS girls’ basketball team also made it to state the following year.
“To follow that state tournament up with another berth the next year was special as well,” said Brooks. “That state tournament was held in Watertown, and those two seasons have really fueled our success ever since.”
With time to think about the best memories as a coach, Brooks also thinks the pandemic has given many the opportunity to enjoy time with family.
“Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has been scary,” said Brooks. “With the cancellation of all sports, I think it has given people the chance to slow down and be with family. The health of our kids is the number one priority when something like this is going on.”
As some are ready for sports to begin again, Brooks says it is important for it to be safe before everyone returns.
“Whenever that may be, we will be ready,” said Brooks. “I know our girls are looking forward to not only getting back in the weight room and gym but also the social aspect of being around teammates and friends.”