Whether as a player, coach or mentor, Terry Futrell has set an example of excellence on and off the basketball court. Futrell says he plans to continue that commitment to excellence as the new athletic director and men’s basketball coach at Wilberforce University.
In July, 2011, Futrell took over the reign of the athletic department with a goal of recruiting student-athletes that will set an outstanding example for the Bulldogs, athletically, academically and spiritually, while instilling an atmosphere of accountability and encouragement throughout the department.
“On and off the court, we will display the best Wilberforce has to offer,” Futrell said. “The desire to support and serve is a tradition here. As the first university owned and operated by African Americans in this country, we have a lot to live up to. I am committed to making sure our student-athletes understand that responsibility and the athletic department sets the expectation of achievement and service at every turn.”
Futrell returns to Wilberforce after serving as an assistant basketball coach and recruiting coordinator for the Bulldogs from 2006-09. He was an assistant coach at Cedarville University from 2008-2011, where, the Yellow Jackets compiled a record of 46-22 record as Futrell helped coach two All-Americans and four all-conference players. His teams were ranked No. 1 in the NAIA in defensive field goal percentage, No. 2 in 3-point field goal percentage and No. 3 in assists-to-turnover ratio.
“Terry may be one of the best people I’ve have ever known at player development,” said Pat Estepp, head coach of Cedarville.
With recruiting connections on the East Coast, Midwest and southern states such as Georgia and Florida, along with international connections in places like Jamaica, Futrell said he hopes to bring an exciting brand of basketball to Wilberforce. Through his coaching in AAU, he has also developed relationships with some of the top high school and junior college programs in the country.
“I have learned about player development not only from my own development and success, but by learning to teach and instill those things into other players,” Futrell said. “But developing players extend beyond the basketball court. Academics will always come before athletics. The goal of every student-athlete at Wilberforce will be to graduate. We want to prepare them for life after college sports.”
A native of Ottawa Lake, Mich., Futrell had a stellar career as a high school and collegiate player. He held the single-game and season scoring records at Whiteford Agricultural High School, where he graduated in 1976. He was a two-time team captain and a two-time most valuable player.
He then led Defiance College to the NAIA District 22 title and the national tournament in Kansas City in 1980, where he earned all-district and all-conference honors. It was the first time Defiance reached the national tournament in 15 years. He was the first player in school history to win the team’s most valuable player, best defensive player and Mr. Hustle award during the 1979-80 Purple and Gold Tournament. He was inducted into the Defiance College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Whiteford High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
Futrell worked for the Xenia Community Schools as a full-time substitute teacher and coached the Xenia High School junior varsity where he won 23 games in two seasons. He was involved in on court coaching, fundraising, game scheduling and player development.
He worked as an instructor at basketball camps conducted by Tubby Smith at the University of Kentucky from 2003-06 and Brian Gregory at the University of Dayton from 2006-10.
In the big picture, Futrell says he sees basketball as “an act of worship” and he will help student-athletes understand that the choices that they make during college will affect them for the rest of their lives. He said sports can provide a platform to influence the world through Christ.
Futrell says as athletic director he plans on making sporting events something special at Wilberforce, developing a critical relationship between the department, the community and alumni.
“I will establish a booster club and be visible on campus,” Futrell said. “Our student-athletes will be committed to community service and I will hold myself to that same standard. We will develop a family atmosphere where we all pull for each other and cheer for each other, regardless of the sport.”