SOUTH EL MONTE – Jay Gauthier Sr., one of the winningest coaches in Mission Valley League sports history, recently was selected as the new head coach of girls basketball at South El Monte High School.
Gauthier said he enjoys helping local students improve and is eagerly looking forward to building the girls basketball program. He should be approved by the El Monte Union High School District Board at its meeting on Aug. 2, 2017. He said off-campus coaches will be announced soon for the junior varsity team.
“We are going to build the program from the bottom up so it will be a complete program,” emphasized Gauthier. “Basically we will have one system for both varsity and junior varsity levels. We are going to teach fundamentals, and instill a mindset of winning. We are going to turn it around. We expect more players to be in the program.”
He said he looks for potential that can be developed. “I look for athleticism, potential and coachability regardless of previous playing experience. We also plan to speed the game up.”
South El Monte’s program had lower numbers of players the last couple of years and Gauthier said he hopes to have some more players participating so more students can work together and enjoy the game.
As head girls basketball coach for 12 years at Rosemead High School, Gauthier won 10 Mission Valley League (MVL) championships with 8 of the those undefeated championships. Rosemead set a MVL girls basketball record with a 56-game winning streak his last season at Rosemead. He guided Rosemead into the playoffs in 11 of his 12 seasons at Rosemead.
Gauthier’s MVL record at Rosemead was 108-12. He said he thinks six players were named with All-California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section (CIFSS) honors... Leanne Pettinato, Cindy Poon, Ashley Soto, Jessica Ly, Melody Gauthier and Sydney Hua.
Gauthier retired from coaching to watch his daughter Melody Gauthier play at Los Angeles Valley College. Melody is now a senior player for nearby Hope International University in Fullerton, Calif. Hua is a senior player for nearby University of California at Irvine.
He said a number of varsity basketball players played more than one sport, which he supports. Two players, hurdler Sarah Regan and distance runner Elizabeth Lyons, became scholar-athletes in another sport in college. Regan enrolled at California Polytechnic State University at Pomona and competed in hurdles for the track and field team and earned western region scholar-athlete honors. Lyons went on to win a USA Track & Field National Championship and competed in cross country and track for Pasadena City College (PCC) and Azusa Pacific University (APU), helping PCC to success in conference and state championship meets and helping APU in conference, regional and national championship meets.
Gauthier said he encourages students to do more than one sport. “I get frustrated when a coach says a student should only do one sport," he continued. “It’s not up to the coach to run the student’s life.” He said Regan competed in basketball and track and Lyons competed in cross country, basketball, and track. “It does work well for the students.”
Last season, Gauthier became an assistant coach at LA Valley College under Head Coach Monica Hang, whom he said he has great respect. “I’m a better coach with what I learned at LA Valley College," he continued. "Coach Hang does a great job and really teaches the game. LA Valley won the Western State Conference, Eastern Division conference title last season and got to the sweet 16 in state championships.”
“I’m local though and enjoy coaching local students,” stated Gauthier.
He said he is already planning the season and is looking forward to meeting with South El Monte High School Athletic Director Sonya Ayala to go over the existing schedule. “We’re really looking forward to building the program even though its such a late start,” commented Gauthier. “It’s a new program for South El Monte!”