Gaines named new Central boys basketball coach

May 12, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN

Sports Writer

If there's one thing Von Gaines wants to see from the Central Union High boys basketball team it's a return to the days when winning a league championship wasn't only a goal but an expectation.

When Kevin McFadden stepped down as Central's varsity head coach at the end of the 2001-02 season, it was almost a no-brainer that Gaines, the longtime and highly successful Central junior varsity coach, was in the running as the team's replacement.

On Friday, Central Athletic Director Steve Evangelist made it official as he named Gaines as McFadden's successor.

"We just felt that Von was a real good fit into our system. He knows the kids, has worked with the kids and hiring him is something that we're very excited about," said Evangelist. "We're going to support him in every way possible and wish him all the success. Right now we're looking forward to seeing things take off and are excited with the future of Central basketball."


Gaines coached Central's JV program the past five seasons. He compiled a 57-16 record and turned the Spartans' JV into an Imperial Valley power. At one stretch during this last year Gaines' squad put together a 17-game winning streak.

Not only that, but Gaines has been coaching the El Centro- based Cru basketball team, a travel team that competes in tournaments around Southern California that has been somewhat of a breeding ground for Central and Southwest High hoops talent.

"I am very thankful for this opportunity and I'm very appreciative of getting this job. I just want to come in and take it day by day," said the 27-year-old Gaines, originally from Louisville, Ky. "I want to get the Central program back to where it was when you would walk in the gym for a game and the place would be packed. This is something that we're going to make successful like the old Central days when they were winning championships."

After graduating from Louisville Valley High in 1993, Gaines moved to the Valley to play basketball at Imperial Valley College before transferring to Dominican College in San Rafael. After a year at Dominican, he returned to the Valley, where he began coaching at Central.

At IVC Gaines played under Jeff Deyo and learned Deyo's run-and-gun type offense that Gaines compared to that type of game played in Kentucky. That is a brand of basketball he plans on instilling at Central.

"The difference in what we'll be doing, is that we're going to bring some excitement with a full-court game. We're going to bring that uptempo Kentucky-styled basketball," said Gaines. "What I'm going to be bringing is a new energy to the game, not only to Central, but to the entire Valley.

"When I coach I give everybody a chance. I don't have a player on the team that's not going to play. Anyone deserves as much of a chance as anyone else," said Gaines. "It's a team game. There's about 12 to 15 of us on the team and throughout the game, there's going to be 12 to 15 guys on the court. It's going to be exciting basketball and everyone's going to get a shot."

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