Coach Duran turns program around

Shivani Sharma, Copy Editor

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The sound of basketball shoes squeaking against the gym floor and the swish of the ball gliding its way through the hoop echo throughout  the walls of the Carroll Center.

Motivating speeches blared in the background while the look of determination and grit remained on the faces of each girl there as they ran through their warm-up shots.

“What do you want to be known as? You want to be known as a grinder.”

You could sense a change in the air. This year was not going to be like any other.

The Bishop Amat girls basketball team had switched coaches four times within the past four years, and this is the year Coach Fernando Duran steps in and takes charge as the head coach of the varsity team.

He stepped into this position in attempt to revive the Lancers from their 8-19 (0-8) record from their last season and change the image of the Girls’ Basketball program.

“Having our first practice with coach a couple months ago I could already tell that things were gonna be better and different,” said senior Hana Inouye, the starting point guard on the team. “He was really working to get to know us, set up a new culture for the way Amat sees girls basketball, and change things up around here.”

Besides improving the program, the initial focus of his first year was to change the “culture,” which had been set up in previous years.

“The first thing I was set on was changing their culture. In the past, they were settled on a culture of it didn’t really matter to them if they won or lost.” said Coach Duran. “This was hard to understand because these girls, in particular, are very skilled, well- charactered, and they have a high IQ for the sport and also in school. But their old mentality was because of the culture that was laid out for them in the past couple years.”

Bishop Amat’s girls basketball had been a show- stealer from 2004-2014 with the coaching of Richard Wiard.

In the span of two years (2004-06), the team brought in two state championships along with an undefeated season.

This had been an era for the Girls’ Basketball program when banners with their name entered the Carroll Center year by year. Being League champions was something that was expected, not hoped for.

The same could not be said for the the past couple seasons, in which the team could only earn an at-large bid for playoffs.

The previous coaching changes made it difficult on the players, yet this year, the team is finally showing stability with the new set of coaches, including assistant coach Dave Guerena, JV coach Shanna Yellesetty, and freshmen coach Stephen Sierra.

The players have also seen this stability and improvement as a team because of Coach Duran.

“Every time you get a new coach you have to re-prove yourself, re-earn your position, relearn plays and it’s really hard to improve when you have to start from scratch each time,” said starting shooting guard Siena Jones. “He has improved the way we play because I feel like we’re a lot closer. Because of all the coaching changes and stuff we were not as connected because of drama but with him I feel like we play much better together.”

This year’s team  is not very different from last year’s, but they finally stepped out of their shell and started to show their true potential.

This potential was not brought out solely by the change in coaches, but by the change in mindset, the extra hard work, and determination to overcome their struggles.

The team finished the season with a 18-7 (6-2) record, which is a huge step up from last year and the seasons before.

Playoffs have become a reality for them once again.

With the great amount of change that Coach Duran has brought with him, he hopes to see it flourish and progress in the coming years.

“What we’ve done this year is set up a foundation and I would love to be here as long as I can to bring in banners, league championship, CIF, and much more with these girls.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Coach Duran turns program around”

  1. Mark Duran on February 9th, 2017 7:36 am

    Great article about a great coach. My daughter has played for him in the past and she loved him. His style and the way he is. Not only coach Fernando but also coach guerena. Both of them are fabulous coaches that bring out the best in the girls.

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