Tritons show their appreciation for Pilcher

Pilcher coached Iowa Central for 40 years

—Photo by Paul DeCoursey Iowa Central head coach Dennis Pilcher looks in on the action during a Triton game in the 2014-2015 season. Pilcher finished his career with 856 victories in 40 seasons.

Several current and former Iowa Central players and coaches expressed their appreciation for head coach Dennis Pilcher, who announced his retirement this week:

Ryan O’Hern, former Triton player and former assistant Triton coach, current West Burlington boys head coach

“Thanks Coach Pilcher prepared guys to play right away and have success at the four-year level after they left Iowa Central. I was fortunate to play two years for him and be on his staff for three. He loved the practice aspect of coaching. He loved coming to practice every day to teach the game of basketball.

“Coach Pilcher prepared guys to play right away and have success at the four-year level after they left Iowa Central. I was fortunate to play two years for him and be on his staff for three. He loved the practice aspect of coaching. He loved coming to practice every day to teach the game of basketball.”

Jerome Nelson, former Triton player and current academy director at Hoops 4 Life Elite Academy

“After Harmony Prep School in 2006 I had 2 junior college scholarship offers. I signed to play junior college ball for Iowa Central in Ft. Dodge, Iowa. I was coached 2 years by Dennis Pilcher, NJCAA Hall of Fame Coach, that happens to be a good friend of All-time NCAA great Coach Bobby Knight. You could tell because their demeanors were the same. Both very strict and stern. He was the no nonsense coach that preached fundamentals. As a coach now I understand that concept a lot better. Coach Pilcher help me understand the science to the game. Coach Pilcher taught me a lot about accountability and mental toughness. He was the toughest Coach I’ve ever had. He demanded things out of me that I didn’t know exist. 2 years in Iowa by myself away from home. Barely even talked to anyone from August to May.

“That time helped me grow from a boy to a man. I tell this story because as coaches and parents if we are not preparing our student athletes to be challenged we can’t be surprised when they leave opportunities or miss opportunities because they aren’t prepared to face adversity. They will be challenged and some cases broken. My advice prepare them mentally by allowing them to be challenged now. Thankful for my community (Lincoln Heights), the support of loved ones and the Coaches that supported and poured into me. I’m forever thankful.”

Tray Croft, former Triton player and All-American under Pilcher, current Northern Iowa player

“I really wasn’t expecting him to retire after this year but he had a big impact on my life. One of the best coaches to ever coach me. He knew when I wasn’t playing to my full potential and would always stay on me. He’s a coach I could always call whenever I need something and to this this day he still checks up on me making sure I’m doing what I have to do. Coach Pilcher impacted my life big time because he took a chance on me and made me a better player and a student. He pushed me everyday and held me accountable; he never lost faith in me. I trusted everything he told me because I knew he knew what he was talking about. With the short time I had with him I wouldn’t trade it for anything. He is family to me now. I’m glad he had several successful years of coaching. Much love to him.”

Klaye Rowe, former Triton player and All-Americna under Pilcher

“Thirteen years ago when I emailed Coach Pilcher about walking on to his program, I had no idea how much that email would impact my life. It didn’t take long for Coach to realize that I was lost. He looked past my immaturity and stood by my side, took me in and taught me the work ethic that it takes to become a successful person off the court. I appreciate everything Coach has done for me. Congratulations on your retirement. It must feel great to retire without ever working a day in your life! My favorite memory at Iowa Central was beating No. 1 Indian Hills at home for (Pilcher’s) 500th win.”

Royshawn Webb, current Triton player

“Just want to take the time to thank Coach Pilcher along with Coach Helle for everything they’ve done for me these past two years. I’ve learned and grown so much because of them. Deciding to come to Iowa Central was the best decision i made and i thank them for that.”

Andy Jepson, former Triton and current Grand View football coach

“Coach Pilcher IS Iowa Central – phenomenal career that impacted so many – congrats Coach! Big shoes to fill but no one better for the job (than) Coach Helle – Happy for you my man!”

Tim Doyle, former Triton player

“I had a great opportunity to play for Coach Pilcher. Some might think it was only JUCO basketball, but he taught way more than that. A great man but an even better person who taught me a lot about what it means to be on a team. Congrats also to Coach Helle.”

Marshall Bickford, Iowa Central statistician

“Congrats to Coach Dennis Pilcher, retiring after his 40th season leading the Tritons! Will take a little time getting used to him not sitting to my left every night, but look forward to having Coach Helle slide down a chair!”

Nathan West, former Triton assistant coach, current high school coach in Florida

“The best 4 years I’ve had coaching were under Coach Pilcher! Not only is he a mentor of mine, but a friend! One of the best to walk the sideline! Coach has made such an impact in so many student athletes lives! Congrats Coach! Time to work on your golf game!”

Bryan Petersen, Kirkwood men’s basketball coach

“Congrats on a great career Coach Pilcher! Heck of a career! Great ambassador for our league (ICCAC). Enjoy your much deserved retirement!”

Denis Schaefer, Grand View men’s basketball coach

“Congrats Coach Pilcher on a tremendous career. A great coach and better man. Wishing him all the best. He has been a good friend and mentor to me and so many others.”

Kane Kramer, current Triton player

“Been going to Iowa Central games my entire life. I’ve seen it all from Coach. Never met someone with more dedication to the game and to Iowa Central. Always wanted the best out of us on and off the court and it’s been an honor to play for him the past 2 years. I can’t thank him enough.”

Ky Kramer, former Triton player and current Triton assistant coach

“Can’t thank this man enough for everything he’s done for me. I’ve learned so much and I’m glad I was able to play and coach with him. Much deserved retirement.”

Nick Noring, former Triton player and current PCM assistant boys basketball coach

“Congrats to my Coach Dennis Pilcher on 40 amazing years of coaching! You and Coach Helle gave this small town kid a chance from Colfax, IA to live his dream as a collegiate player! So many stories go through my head and thank you for the best one liners in the business!”

Josh Henry, former Triton player and current Winterset boys basketball coach

“Congratulations Coach! So glad I got to play for you, Coach Helle and Coach O’Hern! Loved my time as a Triton! Happy for Coach Helle as well!”

Cal Twait, former Northern Iowa football player

“Legend. His dedication and commitment to Iowa Central is something you don’t see anymore. I’ll always have the ultimate respect for Coach Pilcher.”