One of Junction City’s own is coming home.
JCHS graduate Tim Testa has been hired as the school’s new girls basketball coach. It was a position he was interested in as soon as he saw that former coach Derek Petty would not be returning, and he went through the process from there.
“When I saw coach Petty was done, I kind of knew it was going to be open,” Testa said. “I don’t remember when I first talked to (JCHS Athletic Director Matthew Westerhaus). I think I said something to Brad Adams first, the bowling coach, because we’re still friends. He was in the (physical education) world, and I was in the (physical education) world. Then from there, me and Mr. Westerhaus began talking a little bit there and obviously things started snowballing; came up here and sat in the same room and did an interview and those kind of things. And I guess I did OK.”
During Testa’s time at Junction City, he was on the basketball team from his freshman to junior year. But during his senior year, he wanted to focus solely on track because it was the sport he felt he excelled in the most.
“I knew I was going to have a better outdoor track season if I just trained through the wintertime,” Testa said. “Then I was done with the sport through my college because I ran cross country and track in college, and not basketball.”
Testa graduated from Pittsburg State University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in science. He returned to Junction City after graduating college, and restored his love of basketball when he headed to the gym to help out the teams.
“I was on the basketball staff for all five years,” Testa said. “I mainly worked with the freshman team and then got to work a little bit more varsity and (junior varsity) stuff in the summertime. Had some really good teams, got lucky and had some really good kids. It’s not something I participated in a lot of my life, but it’s something I always loved. It’s always been probably my favorite sport.”
Testa currently serves as the head track and cross country coach at Southwestern College, and it was there at the track where he received a very important phone call.
“I was actually at a track meet and the phone was sitting next to me on the bench,” Testa said. “I looked down and it was a Junction City number. I was like here we go, it’s either yes or no. So I took the call away from my team, obviously, and they offered the position. I don’t remember much of what else was said because I was excited. I said yes, so it kind of was a really crazy 48 hours.”
Stepping into this role will be no easy task for Testa. The team was unable to win a game last season. But before worrying about winning basketball games once again, he wants to focus on restoring some positive energy for the girls.
“There’s two ways you can look at it,” Testa said. “You can look at is as we are no good and it’s going to be a really hard rebuild and this and that. Or, it’s just a blank slate. I think if we give them one win, the girls will feel proud of it. We give them 20 wins, and then everybody’s going to be excited. It’s just kind of however you want to look at it. I want to look at is as just a good opportunity to see what we can do in our first year, then obviously just put some groundwork down to see what we can do in the future.”
Testa believes his enthusiasm for Junction City as a whole helped him stand out from other potential candidates for the job. He senses his ability to directly relate with players and the student body will be a valuable asset.
“It’s not the easiest place to teach and coach, just with the transient nature, and it’s a small, little tight-knit community where we still have a lot of issues and stuff like that,” Testa said. “So, I’ve kind of been through those and understand more of what the kids are going through because I lived in that school system. So, I think that’s the biggest thing I bring. That’s not necessarily a coaching trait, but just the passion for the school and the community is exciting.”