coach has led Wildcats since the school opened
By Dearrel Bates
Davenport Norths only boys basketball coach is retiring.
J.D. Rios, who has guided the Wildcats since the school opened in the
1985-86 school year, told his players at the recent North awards night
that this would be his final year. He had said at the beginning of this
past season that he would make a decision after the season ended whether
he would continue to coach or retire.
Rios, who retired from teaching Spanish at North in 1998 but continued
to coach, compiled a 203-235 record in 20 years. He took teams to the
state tournament five times, finishing as the state runner-up in 1989
and fourth in 1995 and 1996.
Now my golf game is going to take precedence, joked
Rios, who had a telephone conversation interrupted Monday by a call
from a brother in Phoenix planning an annual golfing trip there later
In January, when my wife (Diane) decided to retire as a teacher
at North at the end of the school year, I pretty much made up my mind
that I would retire from coaching, Rios said.
I didnt want to announce it then, however, because I didnt
want it to take away from the players and their season. I wanted our
season to play out, but I havent lost my enthusiasm for basketball.
The Wildcats finished 8-15 in Rios final season but ended on a
In their final two regular-season games, they gave unbeaten league champion
and state tourney qualifier Bettendorf all it could handle before losing
and then knocked off state-ranked Pleasant Valley. In the substate series,
North beat North Scott in overtime before falling to state-ranked and
state qualifier Iowa City West.
This season was a disappointment, from the standpoint of not finishing
with a better record, he said. But at the end of the
season, we were playing the way I thought we would the entire year.
Before taking the North job, Rios served as an assistant coach for
Dave Wessel at Davenport West for 18 years. He was with Wessel when
the Falcons captured a state title in 1971 and made four other state
For the past 38 years, weve never had a break from basketball
at Christmas because weve still been practicing, so that will
be something new, Rios said. There are places to see
and things to do now for my wife and I that weve never had the
opportunity because of basketball.
Im going to miss the preparation and breaking down tape
on teams that we were going to face. That part of the game is something
a lot of coaches dont enjoy, but I did. Who knows, maybe Ill
get into that type of business of going out and scouting teams, putting
together reports and selling them to coaches.
Rios feels he has two people on his staff who deserve to be considered
as successors, if they are interested in the job. Assistant coach Jim
Wessel has been with Rios since he started at North in the 1985-86 season
and Rios son, Greg, who has been the Wildcats sophomore
coach for the past seven years.
Dearrel Bates can be contacted at (563) 383-2277 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in the Quad-City Times on 3/15/2005.