"I live in Brentwood, so it's a lot closer to my home. I went to Liberty, which is in the same school district - so I'm giving back to the community where I went to high school," Torres said of the factors that figured into his decision. "And, my wife teaches at Liberty, so it'll be nice to all be on the same schedule. We're planning to start a family, so our kids will go to those schools."
Torres spent the last four years at Antioch, helping to build the basketball program from the ground up after beginning his coaching career as the Panthers' freshman coach. He's looking forward to the opportunity to work with younger, rawer players again whom he can mold on the court.
"That's probably my favorite year at Antioch, coaching the freshmen team," Torres said. "They aren't into cars yet, they aren't really into girls yet - they don't have all those other distractions. They're also a lot easier to coach because they don't think they know everything yet and they're more eager to learn."
Still, the decision to leave an Antioch program that he helped sculpt into a 22-game winner this past year wasn't easy. Although standouts Eddie Miller and Murkice Carter, who received their diplomas last week, won't be returning for the 2008 campaign, dynamic center Tim Williams and talented swingman Calvin Douglas will be back to form the foundation of a team with lofty expectations.
"This was an extremely, extremely tough decision," Torres said. "I had quite a few sleepless nights over it, even after I took the Freedom job. I was scared I was making the wrong decision. Tim and Calvin are first-team all leaguers right there and I would have loved to be able to coach them."
Breaking the news to his former players that he wouldn't be returning was difficult for Torres, and hearing the news wasn't any easier for his players, many of whom haven't played for another high school coach.
"Telling my team I wouldn't be returning was one of the hardest things I had to do," said Torres. "But it's like I told them: the decision I made is the best decision for me and for my family. That was tough because I felt like our program (at Antioch) was on auto-pilot right now. I went into practice and the older guys knew what I expected and they were able to tell the young guys. I would walk into practice and they would already be ready to go. I didn't even have to say anything to them."