Lakewood High rolls out star-studded staff
FEB 05, 2013 8:31a ET
The Lancers took it on the chin against St. John Bosco, 54-7 (a win eventually forfeited by St. John Bosco), and Narbonne, 61-6, in nonleague play. In the Moore League, Long Beach Poly defeated them 42-3. Their season came to an end in a 71-10 loss to eventual PAC-5 runner up Mater Dei in the first round of the playoffs.
Lakewood principal Mario Jimenez was in search of discipline being restored to the program, the games to be more competitive, and for Lakewood to finally stop playing second fiddle to Moore League powerhouse Long Beach Poly. He believes he’s found the perfect mix with the hiring of head coach Kenric Jameison, who comes complete with a staff that has enough Super Bowl rings to make the most accomplished of staffs blush.
The staff, which was formally introduced at Lakewood on Thursday, includes former nine-year NFL veteran Ben Coleman, who will serve as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator. One of the stops in Coleman’s NFL career was in Jacksonville. It was there he was a teammate of safety Travis Davis, who will serve as Lakewood’s defensive coordinator.
Tyree Washington, who was a world champion in the 400 meters, will serve as the team’s speed and agility coach.
USA Weightlifting Certified Olympic Coach Ray Anderson will help with the weight training.
It was reported former Super Bowl MVP Terrell Davis will serve as the running backs coach, however his role will be that of an advisor, Jameison says. Davis, who won two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos and was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXII, is expecting his second child with his wife, former Miss California Tamika Nash. He also has NFL-related activities that he is a part of, making his time limited.
“He has not agreed to nor is he a part of our staff at this time,” Jameison said. “Terrell has a huge, philanthropic heart. He’s one of the best men I’ve ever met in my entire life. He wants to give back.
“As soon as he knows (how much time) he can give, he’ll make sure he can.”
Davis’ former teammate with the Broncos, two-time Super Bowl champ Byron Chamberlain is not a member of the staff either but will have a role slightly more expanded than that of his former Broncos teammate. A nine-year NFL tight end, Chamberlain will work with the Lancers quarterbacks.
“He was with (Hall of Fame quarterback) John Elway for quite a few years and he’s learned more from John than anybody,” Jameison said of Chamberlain. “His disciplines and what he can teach those guys is amazing.”
And although the staff boasts quite a few years of NFL experience, Jameison says his new team should benefit on the field - as well as off it.
“I’ve always been taught by my father to always hire people who can do your job better than you could,” said Jameison. “It will always take you to the top. These guys were not only great players, they’re great coaches. They’re great men.
“Life is just not about football but to be able to bring this type of experience where a young kid in high school can look across at his coaches and know he’s being taught by the best. He’s being taught by people who have reached the level that this kid only dreams of reaching …it’s special for the kids.”
Jameison reached out to Lakewood last month when he learned of the opening. Last week, Lakewood offered the job to former Carson head coach Jimmy Nolan, but according to reports, Nolan resigned from Carson and turned down the Lakewood job to spend time with his family.
As it turns out, the Lakewood High football program has fallen into some solid hands.
“I really like what his philosophy is (and) what his vision is of the program,” Jimenez said. “I think his staff, obviously, is quality athletes who know how to win, who know how to compete and you team that with Jameison’s vision. For our panel that made that decision, it looks like a wonderful opportunity to really develop a high school football team that is going to be, hopefully, in the very near future CIF and State contenders.”
Jameison and his staff come to Lakewood from Temecula Rancho Christian, where they spent two seasons together building the program from the ground up. That came to a controversial end after just one varsity game last season, when he was released after what he and the school called a "difference of opinion."
Rancho Christian forfeited the rest of the season, and two of their former players, Darius Geater and Bezhawn Hill transferred to Vista Murrieta and helped lead the Broncos to the Inland Division final.
But the past is all but forgotten as Jameison’s staff comes with tremendous credentials that had some of his new players in disbelief.
“I couldn’t believe it at first,” said Lakewood wide receiver Jeremy McNichols upon hearing about his new coaches. “And then I started hearing about it in interviews and write-ups and I was like ‘it can’t be true’ and then when it finally happened, I was like ‘that’s all we needed.”
Now that all of the pomp and circumstance surrounding their hiring is coming to a halt, it’s time for the new staff to get to work.
The Lancers went 15-7 in two seasons under former coach Vince Lobendahn, including 8-3 in 2012. One of those wins came via forfeit.
For Jamison and Co., Lakewood High will be quite a jump from a brand new small school program to the PAC-5 and the Moore League, which is home to reigning PAC-5 champs and football powerhouse, Long Beach Poly.
“Lakewood actually is more of a fit to the style of coaching that we need and so it’s actually, in our opinion, a much better suited opportunity for us than it was at Rancho,” Jameison said.
Before the start of last season, there were a number of key players who transferred out of Lakewood. So far this offseason, 2014 USC commit, offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn, the son of the former Lancers head coach, has checked into La Habra. Also, 2014 defensive back Elijah Moody has checked into Long Beach Poly.
Jameison says he’ll be “really surprised” if there are any more departures.
“(We are) smart individuals able to work together as a unit,” Travis said. “Not necessarily (that) we agree on everything but we are able to come to an understanding, and that’s the biggest thing that we have and that filters over to the kids. As long as we as a coaching staff have an understanding and (are) a tight unit, the kids will play as a tight unit.”
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