Jerry Hernandez has been coaching basketball longer than Northshore has existed.
And with that experience comes yet another opportunity for the 68-year old coach to do what he does best.
Hernandez will be the new boys basketball coach at Northshore when the 2015 fall semester begins in August. He served as an assistant at Northshore last year under Joey Tolis, who resigned as the boys coach, according to the school.
Hernandez has been the basketball coach at Shaw, Jesuit, De La Salle, St. Martin’s, Belle Chasse and Hahnville during his 42-year career. He also spent 13 years (1991-2004) as the men’s coach at Loyola University.
“Jerry has one heck of a pedigree,” Northshore Athletic Director Tom Gainey said. “He brings a ton of experience to the team. We’re excited about the setup we have in place.”
As is Hernandez. He figured his head coaching days might have been behind him until Tolis resigned.
“In this profession, you never know what’s around the next corner,” Hernandez said. “I was in the right place at the right time, I guess. But I feel very comfortable here. It’s a good school, with some good talent. I have to give thanks to
(Northshore Principal) Frankie (Jabbia) and Tom (Gainey.) They have put faith in me, and I’m going to do everything I can for the team and the school.”
Hernandez said fans can expect a “cerebral” team at Northshore under his tutelage. He acknowledged that his one year as an assistant familiarized him with some of his players, but that there always is a learning curve when a new head coach enters a program.
“Anytime you have a change in leadership, there will be changes in Xs and Os,” he said. “There are changes in the package, change in the approach. I’m sure there will be an adjustment period, but we have the right guys to do this.
“Everyone always wants to win immediately. My goal is to make sure that we grow each year; that we get more competitive every game, no matter who we are playing.”
Hernandez won’t be the only new head coach at Northshore come August.
Joey Sylve, previously a football and powerlifting assistant coach, will now be the head powerlifting coach and will continue working with the Panthers football team. Sylve takes over the head coach lifting job from Mike Labourdette, who left to become the head football coach at Pearl River.
Former girls basketball head coach Tim Holmes “was coaxed out of coaching retirement,” Gainey quipped, and will be the new head tennis coach. He also will assist Hernandez with the boys basketball program.
Before Tolis resigned, Hernandez was the head tennis coach.
Heather Girod will be the new swimming faculty representative. She takes over for Kenta Paretti and Louise Barakat — both teachers at Northshore who served as faculty reps when their children were swimming for Northshore.
Girod played softball for the Panthers in her high school days and will continue to serve as an assistant for that team.
“She’ll have a fall sport in swimming, and a spring sport in softball,” Gainey said. “She is absolutely great. She’s young, and she has done a fabulous job in the classroom.”
Angel Smith is expected to continue serving as the non-faculty swim coach for Northshore, Gainey said.
“We’re looking at some nice transitions across the board,” he said. “These people will help us continue the traditions we have.”