NEW HAWKS HOOPS COACH GETS TO WORK

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Mike Bush NEWS-SEN­TINEL SPORTS WRITER

GALT — Brian Chavez had one word itched on the back of his Lib­erty Ranch High boys bas­ket­ball T-shirt he wore on Wed­nes­day.

Dy­nasty.

That is some­thing Chavez plans on con­tin­u­ing to do in a pro­gram that be­longed to a former coach who worked for Chavez.

Ac­cord­ing to Lib­erty Ranch High Ath­letic Di­rec­tor An­thony Linebaugh in an email ear­lier this month, Chavez has been named the new school’s new boys bas­ket­ball head coach. Chavez takes over for Josh Wil­liams, who led Lib­erty Ranch to its fourth con­sec­u­tive Sierra Val­ley Con­fer­ence ti­tle last win­ter. Wil­liams also led the Hawks to many SacJoaquin Sec­tion play­off berths dur­ing his ten­ure.

“We had a very solid pool of ap­pli­cants,” Linebaugh said. “Brian’s pas­sion for the pro­gram, prior ex­pe­ri­ence, and vi­sion for an al­ready es­tab­lished pro­gram to reach new heights re­ally stood out. We look for­ward to the up­com­ing sea­son.”

For the last eight sea­sons, Chavez was the Chris­tian Broth­ers High boys bas­ket­ball head coach. He led Chris­tian Broth­ers, out of Sacra­mento, to five of eight win­ning sea­sons. He has a com­bined record of 112 wins and 85 losses.

“I got a lot of re­spect for him,” said Lib­erty Ranch guard Jalen Pat­ter­son, who will be a four-year starter this win­ter. “He’s been do­ing this for 20 years, so he knows what he’s do­ing. Our re­la­tion­ship is growing. I’ve known him for a cou­ple (of) years, but we didn’t start get­ting close un­til he got hired.”

Chavez will be an off-cam­pus coach. He works for the Co­sumnes Com­mu­nity Ser­vices District in Elk Grove as a recre­ation co­or­di­na­tor for sports.

Wil­liams, ac­cord­ing to Chavez, had al­ready told him he was go­ing to re­sign from the coach­ing post.

“We’ve known each other for years,” Chavez said. “He let me know that he had stepped down and I said to him ‘I’d be in­ter­ested in the job.’”

Wil­liams added, “Great guy. Great coach. Couldn’t be more happy with him tak­ing over and con­tin­u­ing the bas­ket­ball suc­cess at Lib­erty Ranch.”

Chavez and Wil­liams, plus Lib­erty Ranch Principal Joe Sara­m­ago, have his­tory among the trio. Chavez was the Galt High boys bas­ket­ball head coach at the start of this decade for three sea­sons, and Wil­liams was the fresh­men head coach for one sea­son.

Then Wil­liams took over the Lib­erty Ranch boys bas­ket­ball pro­gram af­ter Mike Turpin stepped down af­ter the 2011-12 sea­son. Sara­m­ago was the as­sis­tant principal at Galt High ear­lier this decade be­fore be­ing trans­ferred to Lib­erty Ranch to serve in the same role. He be­came princi

pal in 2016.

“All of those things com­bined led me to go for the job,” Chavez said.

On Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, Pat­ter­son and re­turn­ing play­ers from last win­ter’s team, plus some ju­nior var­sity play­ers, spent time in­side The Hawks Nest learn­ing Chavez’s of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive schemes. Ac­cord­ing to Chavez, most of the sys­tem is sim­i­lar to Wil­liams’ style of play that led to build­ing the dy­nasty.

“Our per­son­nel is go­ing to be a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent from the se­niors that grad­u­ated,” Chavez said. “We want to play an up­tempo of­fense, run the floor, look for op­por­tu­ni­ties to score in tran­si­tion. I’m a strict be­liever in ball move­ment. Spac­ing and read­ing the de­fender both on the ball and off the ball. I like to do zone press and man press; de­fense cre­ates turnovers. I’m pri­mar­ily a man-to-man guy, but will go zone when the sit­u­a­tion is right.”

Chavez will have two key pieces re­turn­ing in Pat­ter­son and an­other guard in Isaac Padilla. Pat­ter­son who was named the SVC’s MVP for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year last win­ter, av­er­aged 23.1 points per game and 4.1 re­bounds per game. Padilla, also a senior, 15.4 points per game and 8.8 re­bounds per game.

“A tal­ented guard in Jaylen,” said Chavez of Pat­ter­son. “We have these guys (in­clud­ing Padilla) use to play­ing a cer­tain way, and to­gether for awhile. We’re not try­ing to rein­vent the wheel, just what’s eas­ier for the kids.”

The Hawks have been tak­ing part in sum­mer league games at Florin High of Sacra­mento, plus week­end tour­na­ments. This week­end, Lib­erty Ranch will take part in the Shel­don-Franklin Sum­mer Jam at Shel­don of Sacra­mento and Franklin of Elk Grove.

“We’ve played good com­pe­ti­tion,” Chavez said.

The Hawks plan to con­tinue their work­outs un­til July 29. That is when, ac­cord­ing to the Sac-Joaquin Sec­tion’s web­site — cif­sjs.org — has its win­ter sports teams go into the dead pe­riod un­til Sept. 8. Then bas­ket­ball teams, boys and girls, can have off-sea­son work­outs through Oct. 13 when the dead pe­riod starts again. Teams can still take part in weight train­ing and con­di­tion­ing dur­ing the dead pe­ri­ods.

“We’ve been to­gether for a month now,” Chavez said. “That’s not a lot of time, but for me, the off-sea­son is about player de­vel­op­ment.”

Lib­erty Ranch will play a tougher pre­sea­son sched­ule this win­ter. The Hawks will be­gin with the Nor-Cal Tip Off Tour­na­ment at Rock­lin High, fol­lowed with the Mark Gallo In­vi­ta­tional at Cen­tral Catholic High of Modesto and the Modesto Chris­tian Hol­i­day Classic. Each tour­na­ment run four days, and have 16 teams.

“It is dif­fer­ent,” Chavez said. “Three ma­jor tour­na­ments.”

One of Lib­erty Ranch’s non-league games will include a trip to The In­ferno, when it will play Lodi.

Chavez has only one other coach in the pro­gram; as­sis­tant coach Jay Long, who coached in the boys bas­ket­ball pro­gram at Mesa Verde High of Citrus Heights. Chavez plans to hire a new JV and fresh­men head coaches in up­com­ing months.

Now the new head coach wants to con­tinue what Wil­liams es­tab­lished, and then some.

“We want to honor ev­ery­thing that Josh has done,” Chavez said. “I’m also big on char­ac­ter and the lit­tle things. We’re work­ing on with our play­ers, do­ing the lit­tle things and work­ing harder.”

MIKE BUSH/NEWS-SEN­TINEL

New Lib­erty Ranch High boys bas­ket­ball coach Brian Chavez goes over a drill with his play­ers dur­ing Wed­nes­day's work­out in­side The Hawks Nest.

MIKE BUSH/NEWSSENTIN­EL

New Lib­erty Ranch High boys bas­ket­ball coach Brian Chavez goes over a drill with play­ers dur­ing Wed­nes­day' s work­out in­side The Hawks Nest.

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