Jon Dinan | Democrat
Under head coach John Tenbus, it's not unusual to see Tri-Valley girls' basketball players like Colleen Jones (23) on the floor fighting or diving for loose balls.
Girls Coach of the Year: John Tenbus,
Story by Jon Dinan
March 26, 2013 For the second consecutive year, Tri-Valley’s John Tenbus has been named The Democrat Coach of the Year. This season Tenbus led his team to a very respectable 14-6 record, with huge victories over Chester on the road, and Class A Burke Catholic at home.
The Bears did not quite match their success of last year when they finished 18-2 and made it to the class C championship game, but they still led the local pack, earning victories over every county team they played this season.
Tenbus, 33, has been coaching at Tri-Valley for the last decade. Tenbus spent one year with the seventh grade boys, five years with the JV boys, one year with JV girls, and he just finished his third season with the varsity girls.
Tenbus took over Andy Taggart’s position as coach of the Lady Bears at the beginning of the 2010-2011 season. Since then he has led the Lady Bears to 49 victories and just 10 losses.
“There has been no drop off in terms of team success since Tenbus came on as coach a few years ago,” Fallsburg girls’ head coach Daniel Redmond said.
“He’s a solid coach and a great guy,” continued Redmond. He gets the most out of his players. He really knows their strengths and weaknesses and does well to strategize accordingly. Tri Valley is one of the smallest teams we faced all year, but they are fast, physical, and well-conditioned to make up for it.”
Tenbus may be able to get the most out of his players but, he still gives them all the credit.
“These girls worked extremely hard each day in practice, and pushed each other to new limits,” said Tenbus. “They came together as a group and wanted everyone to be successful. Girls had roles that they had to fill and performed them to the best of their ability. The girls never gave up, even when faced with adversity,” said Tenbus.
Which is to be expected of a Tenbus-led team. He is admittedly demanding of his players and describes his coaching style as intense. “I am always giving my full energy each day,” he said. “I am fair, but tough. The team and my players know what I expect and never let me down. I try to lead by example and always demand respect. In return I give that respect to my players, school, and the entire program.”
Tenbus says his favorite moment of this season actually came in what turned out to be the season finale, a gutwrenching 45-42 overtime loss in the Section IX Class C semifinals at Chester. Trailing by 11 in the first half, his team fought back to force the extra stanza.
“We got down early by quite a bit and the girls never hung their heads,” said Tenbus. “They fought back each and every minute and gave their all. I was extremely proud of them,” said Tenbus.
“Tri Valley has great fans and they gave their team a lot of momentum,” said Chester coach Peter Rickard of the game. “After a while, it became a possession by posession ballgame, and it was one of the most physical and fun games I’ve ever coached.”
“[Tenbus] is an excellent coach with a terrific chemistry with his players,” Rickard added. “Not only do they respect him, but they also like him a lot.”
Another notable moment was the Senior Night victory over Class A Burke, a perennial Section IX power. A packed gymnasium helped send the five seniors off in style.
“Their [the senior’s) teammates gave everything they had,” said Tenbus. “Players were hoarse from cheering so loudly and girls were exhausted from giving their all. It was an emotional night and one of the best games I have ever been a part of.”
Tenbus grew up in Narrowsburg and is a 1998 graduate of Narrowsburg Central School. At Narrowsburg, Tenbus played on the varsity soccer team for four years, the varsity basketball team for three years and the varsity baseball team for four years.
Tenbus graduated from King’s College (Pa.) in May 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education.
That same year, Tenbus was hired as an elementary teacher at Tri-Valley. For his first six years at T-V, he taught second grade. The next two years, he taught third grade, which was followed by a year of teaching sixth-graders.
“I wanted to become a coach for a few reasons,” said Tenbus. “I always played sports growing up and had some really great coaches inspire me coaches like Coach K from Duke, Bobby Knight, John Wooden, Jimmy Valvano, etc. all have inspired me.”
Tenbus says his favorite thing about being a coach is having an opportunity to make a positive impact on students' lives.
“I try to help them reach their full potential and realize that they can exceed their expectations,” he said.
Tenbus credited several people who offered him their help and support over the past season.
“A special thanks should go out to my family, fellow coaches, the school, administration, community members and everyone else that supported the program.” Tenbus said, acknowledging the many challenges that come with coaching, especially the time away from his family (he has a 10-month-old son).
“I am grateful and honored for this recognition,” he added.
Girls’ varsity coaching record of Jon Tenbus at Tri-Valley: