Salters says expectations are high at East Gadsden High for hoops season

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By Caleb Lanier

Bo may know football and Bo may know baseball, but Dimitric Salters knows basketball. The "Bo" referred to of course is Bo Jackson, the multi-sport Heisman trophy winning athlete who played professional baseball and football. Bo may have been a pro at what he did, but you would have to look long and hard to find more of a pro than East Gadsden High School’s head basketball coach Dimitric Salters.

 Salters is a local guy, a 1992 graduate of Havana Northside High School, where he played football and basketball, and was an all-state selection in both sports. He loves being back home after a great basketball playing career. He went to FAMU out of high school and then moved over to TCC to play for coach Mike Gillespie, and is the very first basketball player to be inducted into the TCC Athletic Hall of Fame.

After TCC he finished his college career at Thomas University, spent one year in the CBA and then wrapped up his playing days overseas in Europe.

Now he is in his sixth season with the Jaguars, he is leading that basketball program to great places. He has compiled a remarkable 122-27 record in the past 5 years, a record he credits to his players.

"I have to give credit to our young men that have believed in our program and our coaches," he said.

Winning 122 games has not come easy for the Jaguars as they play a very tough schedule, but that's the way Salters likes it.

"We pride ourselves with playing a tough schedule. We love to play hard and compete. We have played some of the big prep schools from south Florida that no one else wants to play," he said.

The Jags finished 20-7 last season and it was the first time in 3 years that they didn't hoist the district title trophy. When asked what this year’s expectations are, Salters said, "Expectations are so great. We try to put ourselves in a position to win a title. We take pride in our guys playing hard and playing together with a winning attitude every year."

Salters got into coaching when he saw the opportunity to impact young men's lives and to be a part of two great communities, Quincy and Havana.

With all the success he’s had, Salters still finds it most rewarding to mold and teach young men not just about basketball but about life.

The Jags and their coach have created a family atmosphere which Salters said was one of the goals when he took the East Gadsden job.

"We have such a family atmosphere here. We love and support each other. I get calls all the time from former players to see how I'm doing and to check on our team. They also wish our players luck and offer advice to them," he said.

Salters believes talent can only take you so far. He loves to teach the game, mold young men into great men and he loves doing this in Gadsden County.

The pressure to win is great for any coach, but Salters puts a lot of pressure on himself to win. As much as he has won as a player and a coach, he still wants that state title. His style of coaching is defense, defense, defense.

"We want to let our defense be our offense, be structured and balanced in what we do. Defense wins championships and if a team wants to play fast, we want to slow you down; if a team wants to play slow, we want to speed you up," he said.

So many players have played for Salters and they consider him a mentor but when asked who some of his mentors were, Salters said, "first and foremost, God." Salters is a very religious man and that drives him on and off the floor. He said his parents are also two of his biggest mentors.

Some coaches that have impacted his life are his high school coach Travis Thomas, college coaches Mike Gillespie and Mike Liter, former Havana Northside coach Vernell Rose and his coach in Europe, Eloy Chamberlain. He credits Chamberlain for helping him to become the coach he is today.

Salters and his Jaguars are quickly approaching the opening tip of the 2009-10 season. The opener is at home on Dec. 1 against Jefferson County.

"We built this program off of hard work. We would like the fans to come out and appreciate seeing young men compete," Salters said. "I'd like to thank the community for all the support."