Even though Terry Burgess had coached high school soccer for more than the past four decades, including about half of that time at South Jefferson, he vowed to himself that he wasn’t done coaching the sport.
As it turns out, with the encouragement of a friend, Burgess is returning to Immaculate Heart Central, where he originally taught and coached.
This time, Burgess will serve as the Cavaliers’ boys soccer coach at the school, his acceptance of the job announced by the school Tuesday.
Burgess, who retired as a teacher at South Jefferson last June, also recently stepped down as girls soccer coach at the school, a position he held for 21 years.
He was determined to return to coaching and had several possibilities in mind when longtime friend and IHC girls soccer coach Kurt Robbins told him about the coaching opening at the school.
“I started coaching soccer at IHC with the girls, I coached JV for like a year and then the varsity job was open after that,” Burgess said. “And so I was there 20 years as the varsity coach and for a good portion of that time, Kurt was the boys coach. So I coached his older daughter and he coached my sons. I kind of joked with him the other day ‘we should go back full circle and have you give me the girls job and you take the boys job.’ He obviously has a very talented girls team and he’s not going to give that up.”
After speaking with IHC athletic director Jared Wilson, Burgess was offered the new job.
“I’ve been involved with IHC really pretty much nonstop for 40 some years,” Burgess said. “Either coaching kids at the school or for a number of years I was Mike Delaney’s score-clock operator for basketball. So I’ve been at the school in some fashion for 40 years, so to go back there and coach is kind of like going back full circle in a sense. It’s a place I’m familiar with, a place I’m comfortable with, obviously, so I hope it works out well.”
The IHC boys soccer program is in a unique situation as it is affiliated with the Black Rock Soccer Academy in western Massachusetts.
The Cavaliers’ boys team played an independent schedule this fall, including several games against Frontier League teams, finishing 4-5 on the season.
The hope and goal at IHC is to field both a boys soccer team that will compete in the Frontier League in conjunction with a Black Rock team, whose players reside in Watertown, and will play a schedule of its own.
“Last fall Craig (Wilkinson) coached both teams,” Burgess said. “The goal of IHC I think in the future is to have enough boys where IHC can have its own team and Black Rock can have its own team. Because this past fall, the IHC numbers were low, so they had three Black Rock kids who were eligible to play for IHC because it was their second year at the school and they had a couple exchange students.
“So the goal down the road will be to get enough IHC boys so you can have an IHC team which can compete in the Frontier League and then have the Black Rock team which is obviously here to do more elite stuff. To do a lot of travel to showcase tournaments and so on.”
Burgess is returning to IHC, where he first coached and taught before he accepted a teaching job at South Jefferson.
He coached the IHC varsity girls soccer team for 21 years, from 1979 to 1999, where he complied a record of 226-126-47, leading the Cavaliers to six Frontier League championships and two Section 3 Class C crowns, according to IHC.
Then as coach at South Jefferson for 22 years, he and his teams generated a 236-132-23 record, which included six Frontier League titles. Burgess has amassed 462 girls soccer wins, second all-time in Section 3 history, only behind current Lowville head coach Leo Sammon. He’s among the top 20 winningest girls soccer coaches in state history.
“I loved teaching and coaching at South Jeff,” Burgess said. “I loved the people I worked with and the kids I taught and coached.”
Robbins also coached the IHC boys soccer team for a time back when Burgess coached the school’s girls team on the pitch.
“I’ve had tons of former IHC players and people reach out to me concerning taking this job,” Burgess said “A lot of ‘welcome home’ thoughts and ‘you’re back where you belong”. I think South Jeff was where I belonged for 20-plus years, but right now this is where I belong.”