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Prep basketball: GV hires hoops coaches

School dismisses Myron Watkins, introduces new head coaches for both boys and girls teams

Posted: September 2, 2012 10:46 p.m.
Updated: September 2, 2012 10:46 p.m.
 

It’s going to be more transition and more confusion within the Golden Valley basketball programs for a while.

Myron Watkins is out as the school’s boys varsity head coach and recently hired girls varsity coach Al Van Hook will replace him, the school made official on Tuesday.

In place of Van Hook, who was hired to guide the girls team in the spring, Golden Valley has promoted former junior varsity coach Kerri Garland to lead the program.

Both coaches were hired on an interim basis due to the school’s limited amount of time to carry out a full-length hiring process, Golden Valley principal Sal Frias said Sunday.

Watkins was let go after two years coaching the Grizzlies’ boys team, finishing with an overall record of 9-41 and a Foothill League mark of 0-20.

Frias wouldn’t comment on the specifics of Watkins’ departure, but made it clear it had nothing to with wins and losses.

“We were forced to make a very tough decision,” Frias said.

After citing Watkins’ strong relationship with his players and the parents in the program, Frias added, “We’ll always be appreciative of what he did for us.”

Watkins was the school’s second all-time varsity boys coach, following former coach Chris Printz’s six-year stint with the team. Golden Valley won league titles in Printz’s final two seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10, but the team struggled after the graduation of eventual NCAA Division I players Trevor Wiseman and Maverick Ahanmisi.

Van Hook, a former assistant coach for the varsity boys basketball teams at Saugus and West Ranch, said he has hopes of getting the Grizzlies back to competitive status in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“I think they’re hungry,” Van Hook said of his players. “You’ve got some seniors that have been there for two, three years. ... You’ve got some guys with a chip on their shoulder a little bit, and that’s a good thing.”

Though Van Hook didn’t technically coach the girls team in a regular season game, he had spent time with them through summer tournaments and practices.

Given the odd timing of the situation, both he and the school felt it was best to move him to the boys side, where he has more experience.

“It was a tough decision,” Van Hook said. “It wasn’t easy because you talk to the girls and you promise them this and you tell them this, and it was very difficult.”

In his place, Garland becomes the eighth coach for the girls program entering its eighth season.

She’s technically the team’s fourth different head coach since January, when Daniel Veluzat resigned midway through the season.

“They were confused, but I just told them I don’t want to talk about the past anymore,” said Garland, who was also hired as a PE teacher at the school this year. “I’m not here to talk about the past. I feel like everything happens for a reason.”

Garland said she’d already gotten to know most of the players from coaching the JV team and seeing them in her classes.

“We’re looking to have some continuity and stability and she’s already been with the program and so that’s just natural,” Frias said.

She also comes in with plenty of knowledge of the game. Her most recent job was as head coach of Kennedy High in Granada Hills for three seasons between 2008-2011, which followed head coaching positions at schools in Burbank and Sacramento.

Her last year coaching at Kennedy, the team went 23-5 and finished 12-0 in the Valley Mission League.

Garland graduated from Kennedy High and went on to play two seasons for College of the Canyons from 1994-96 under head coach Greg Herrick.

She still holds COC’s single-season record for blocked shots after she stuffed 131 as a freshman in 1994-95.
Now, she’s hoping to parlay all that experience into sustained success at Golden Valley.

The girls team is coming off a 13-14 season last year, a playoff appearance and a school-best 3-7 mark against Foothill competition, but the team will have to go without 10 seniors from last year’s team.

“I’m just going to start from the ground up really, which is always what I do,” Garland said. “That’s what I did when I was at Kennedy, which was a very similar situation.”

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