After growing up on the south side of St. Joseph, Jared Boone said coaching at his alma mater is a job he’s had his eye on for a while.
“It means everything to me,” Boone said. “This is my dream job.”
His dreams have come true, as Boone was named the new head coach of the Benton boys basketball team Monday night.
A 2004 graduate of Benton High School, Boone said it was the perfect opportunity for him.
“I played here, went here, so it’s a very very exciting time for me and my family,” Boone said, “being back in this situation and for me to be able to lead this program.”
Boone takes over for Gary Belcher, who resigned from his post last month to take over as the head coach at Lawson.
After playing for the Cardinals, Boone split his college career between North Central Missouri College and Lincoln University, playing two years at each.
After his playing career was finished, it was when he was back at his alma mater watching a friend of his, former Central head coach Cy Musser, coach the Cardinals’ JV team that Boone said the idea of coaching at Benton first popped into his mind.
“I was like, ‘Man, that’s cool,’” Boone said. “‘He went here, and now he’s on the coaching staff. That’s something that I’d want to do.’”
After conferring with Musser, Boone said he began the process of getting involved with coaching, and his dream took off from there.
Boone scored his first head coaching gig in 2015 when he was named head coach of the Central girls basketball team. He spent five years in that position, leading the Indians to a 79-54 record and two district titles.
After leaving Central following the 2019-20 season, Boone spent last season as an assistant for the boys basketball team at Oak Park.
Following the season, Boone said the vacant head coach spot at his alma mater took him by surprise. Boone said he ran into Benton principal Dr. Lara Gilpin one day, and before he knew it, he was on the phone with Benton athletic director Brett Goodwin and coming in to interview for the job.
“It was just like boom, boom, boom. It went quick,” Boone said. “It was very exciting, the possibility of this coming to fruition, and I was just beyond thrilled.”
Boone takes over a Benton squad led by 2021 All-State honoree and senior-to-be Kason Mauzey. Boone said he’s very familiar with the team, and he thinks the sky’s the limit for his group.
“I’m just excited to just get in and put my fingerprints on what I think we can be and help these boys grow,” Boone said, “not only on the basketball court, but as individuals, as well, and being successful as a program.”
With promising talent returning and one of their own at the helm, Boone said the Cardinals have all the tools at their disposal to fight for the ultimate goal of a state championship.
“The goal is always to win a state title,” Boone said. “I think that the group could buy in and with what we could do here, I think it’s possible to make steps to achieve that goal.”