A recent pep rally at T.C. New boys coach Darryl Prue takes over the reins of Alexandria's "sleeping giant" program. (Photo T.C. Williams HS Twitter)

Interview with new T.C. Williams coach Darryl Prue

–Recently’s David Kaplan sat down with Darryl Prue, new boys coach of the T.C. WIlliams Titans.

DK: “Coach Prue, you have quite the basketball resume as far as playing and coaching experience. Most high school basketball coaches have not played NCAA Division I basketball [West Virginia and Georgetown University] and/or professional basketball. [Brazil, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico, Israel, Slovakia, and Korea] Which coaches would you say have molded you into the coach that you are today?”
DP: “The late Dunbar High School Head Coach Joe Dean Davidson, former West Virginia Head Coach Gale Catlett, Morgan State’s Coach Todd Bozeman, Brazilian coach Jose Medalha, and former Georgetown Coach John Thompson III.”

DK: “How do you feel your basketball playing experiences [Dunbar HS, West Virginia, Georgetown, professionally] and your prior coaching experiences [Georgetown, Morgan State and Team Takeover] have prepared you for T.C. Williams?”
DP: “I don’t know if T.C. Williams is ready for me…I’m a very detailed coach and I’m always thinking ahead and of how to get better.”

While T.C. Williams is known worldwide for the movie ‘Remember the Titans,’ the basketball program has had its share of success including two state championships (winning the 2008 and 1977 VHSL AAA State Championships and a heartbreaking 1983 one-point loss in the AAA State Championship). Coach Prue has simple expectations for this season, “Win as many games as possible. One play at a time.” Coach Prue candidly admits that he doesn’t know much about the other teams in the Gunston District–his focus is helping to rebuild T.C. Williams into a championship-caliber program.

The first-year Titans coach expects that seniors Jaquan Johnson and Jaden Thrash to be leaders on and off the court during their final go-arounds. With no set style of play, their new coach expects it to be a work-in-progress, “First they need to learn how to play the game of basketball instead of just playing basketball,” he says.

Coach Prue expects the “Achilles Heel” of the Titans in 2018-19 to be their size (or lack thereof). He’s very high on the younger guys in T.C.’s basketball program and says “our freshmen will be good.”

DK: “The elephant in the room is that the program has had four coaches in four years, how has the buy-in been from the players? What expectations do you have for the program? Is this a rebuild or a Steve Kerr-like move that the team just needed a different voice to get them over the hump?
DP: “The buy in from players has been okay…I don’t think they know what basketball really is.” (As Gar-Field Head Coach Jason Bell says, “There are people who play basketball, and there are basketball players.”)

Prue comes from very successful programs throughout his entire career of both playing and coaching. He’s doing his best to convey what it takes to be successful and the players are “still learning this.”

DK: “The Titans have always been known as a ‘sleeping giant’ in the Northern Region, traditionally a hot bed of talent that can beat teams individually. However, they have been referred to by other coaches in the region as ‘undisciplined.’ Do you feel that you will be able to change the narrative at the helm of T.C?
DP: “Like I said before, one game at a time…rebuilding is what this program needs.”

He is determined to turn T.C. Williams back into a contender; Prue admits that he can see why other coaches around the region have described T.C. Williams as “undisciplined” because at times he’s the first to admit “they are.” He is hopeful that his coaching staff will help the younger players become much better players and that his seniors will continue to become basketball players.

–David Kaplan