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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

“The game of life,” alumnus Rodney Terry’s journey from St. Edward’s courts to Longhorn sidelines

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Courtesy of SEU Athletics
Head coaches Rodney Terry (left) and Andre Cook (right) hug prior to the game after exchanging jerseys as the crowd cheers them on.

Rodney Terry, St. Edward’s University alumnus and University of Texas at Austin men’s basketball head coach, has a long history with basketball. He started playing the sport at eight years old, watching it up close alongside his father, who coached high school basketball for 40 years. 

“Basketball was just one of those sports that I just really fell in love with, and really couldn’t part ways after playing in high school,” Terry said. “I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship to come to St Ed’s and play for four years.”

Terry graduated from St. Edward’s in 1990 with a degree in business administration and a minor in physical education. He was a starting point guard for three years on the men’s basketball team and served as team captain his junior and senior year. The team ended up taking home the Big State Conference title in the 1986-1987 season. 

“I had a really good experience overall (at St. Edward’s), basketball and academically,” Terry said. 

To him, the rigorous curriculum and the professors and mentors he had the chance to work with played a large role shaping who he is both on and off the court. 

“It’s made me a much more well rounded person because I got a quality education at St. Edward’s University,” Terry said. 

After graduating, he was unsure of what path he wanted to take: dive into the corporate world or follow his father’s footsteps and his love for the sport by going into coaching. He had the opportunity to work with a group of players the summer after he got his degree. There, he found his calling. 

“I really wanted to see if I could go the educational route and coach, and I’ve never really looked back,” Terry said. “I really felt like I haven’t worked a day in my life because I get a chance to do what I have a passion to do: work with young people and coach the game that I love so much.” 

Terry coached at the high school level for five years before moving to collegiate courts. He coached at Baylor University and University of North Carolina Wilmington before becoming an assistant coach for the UT Longhorns in 2002. Eight years later, he moved into head coach positions at Fresno State and then at University of Texas El Paso until eventually coming back to Austin in 2021. Terry became the team’s head coach in March of 2023. 

“As a coach, you are an educator first and coach second,” Terry said. “You’re always teaching guys the game of life, the lessons to be learned throughout the process.”

Even though he had the opportunity to coach players that reached the NBA level — including Kevin Durant, P.J. Tucker and LaMarcus Aldridge — he feels just as lucky to have worked with those that followed different paths. 

“I’ve been blessed to work with some really good young players,” Terry said. “I’m just as proud of my guys that have a chance to go on and be successful in corporate America, that are great husbands, great fathers and great providers.” 

To him, being a coach means more than just teaching young men how the game works and helping them improve as players; it means making an impact on their lives and teaching lessons beyond the court. 

“That is the thing I take most pride in, trying to prepare guys for the game of life, to go back and give back to their communities and be positive role models,” Terry said.

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About the Contributor
Anna Pratts, Sports Editor
Anna Pratts is a sophomore from Brazil and majoring in Writing and Rhetoric with a concentration in journalism and digital media and minoring in Global Studies. This is her second year writing for Hilltop Views and her first semester as Sports Editor. She loves writing about sports, especially soccer and basketball, but she is looking forward to exploring other areas and growing as a writer.

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