Growing up in Jamestown, Jacoby Lloyd really wanted to be a Blue Jay athlete.
Lloyd's getting the chance now as the new head coach of the JHS boys basketball team.
Lloyd, 28, lived in Jamestown until his family moved to Bismarck when he was in sixth grade. Lloyd returns with an impressive resume, including the last eight years as an assistant coach at Bismarck Century.
"The opportunity to take over the program that I've followed my entire life was something that was really exciting to me," Lloyd said. "When I heard about the opening, I immediately talked to me wife and waited for it to pop up on the Jamestown website, and when it did, I applied immediately.
"I'm just really excited and thankful that everything worked out."
Lloyd takes over for Luke Anderson, who stepped down when he was hired to be the principal at Gussner Elementary School in Jamestown. Lloyd and Anderson have already had phone conversations.
"First and foremost Luke did an amazing job with the program and he's really respected among basketball coaches in the state," Lloyd said. "A big thing in the teaching world right now is the 'growth mindset.' I don't need to come in and change a bunch of things. I want to take what coach Anderson has done and grow it from there, and add to it."
Lloyd played basketball at Bismarck High School and the University of Mary. But he always returned to Jamestown in the summer to hang out with some of his boyhood friends, including Luke Heck, Tim Perkins, Andrew Lick, Brandon Dale, Josh Lindberg and others.
"Jamestown really was like a second home. I never lost that connection to the town or my friends and I definitely always followed how they were doing," he said.
Lloyd, who will teach social studies at the middle school, started as a freshman coach at Century before moving up to the sophomore team while also assisting the varsity. He's also been coaching for the ECI Basketball program in the AAU circuit since 2015.
Lloyd understands quite well the challenges of competing in the always loaded West Region. Jamestown has qualified for the state tournament just twice (2001, 2015) since Y2K. The Blue Jays struggled to a 2-19 record last year with a largely young and inexperienced roster.
"We want to bring the same approach to building a program that coach (Darin) Mattern has brought to Century," Lloyd said. "It's never about statistics or numbers of individual awards at Century. Obviously, they've had a ton of success, but they've only had two Mr. Basketball candidates in the years I've been there.
"The only stat that mattered was the 'W.' The process of getting there, to everyone buying into what gets us to that end goal, that's what we're going to teach."
Lloyd is married and has two young sons, ages 1 and 3. Cultivating the youth programs also is a major priority for the new and energetic leader of the Jays.
"For me, this is something I'm just really looking forward to," he said. "I'm excited to get started and see if we can work a little magic in Jamestown."