With the opening of the boys' basketball season less than two months away, administrators at Providence High didn't want to waste time finding a new coach.
Less than three weeks after Earnest Baskerville resigned to take the head coaching job at La Salle, the school made it official Tuesday that it has hired former St. John Bosco Coach Chris Madigan to take over the Pioneers program.
"The key for us, instead of the timing, was the quality of the person we wanted to get for the job," Providence Athletic Director Andrew Bencze said. "We really wanted to be able to get a quality head coach and it's extremely hard to do that right now because most of the coaches are set with their schools and we didn't want to necessarily take a coach away from their current job. In order to do that, you need a little luck."
Bencze said Madigan brings a wealth of coaching experience to the Providence program.
"I think he has something like 23 years coaching experience," said Bencze, who also serves as the school's girls' basketball coach. "He has coached in the Trinity League and he knows how to coach at a very high level. So, we were really thrilled that we were able to get him and things worked out."
Madigan was most recently the head coach at Bellflower St. John Bosco, where he headed the program for seven years. During his tenure with the Braves, he had a 116-78 record and just one losing season. During his tenure, St. John Bosco's best season was in 2010-11, when it went 21-9 and finished third in the Trinity League with a 4-6 mark. The Braves advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA playoffs that year, losing to Atascadero, 60-47.
"This is just a very good situation for me to be at Providence right now," Madigan said. "I am excited to be taking over the program and what had really impressed me about the school, even more than basketball, is that they really stress academics and it's clear that academics are No. 1 at the school.
"I am just happy to be back in high school and coaching young people and helping them grow as individuals."
Prior to St. John Bosco, Madigan, who graduated from Long Beach State, was the head coach at Fountain Valley for four years. In addition, he has held assistant positions at Cal State L.A., Cal State Dominguez Hills, Harbor Junior College and Bishop Montgomery.
"I have been very fortunate to have learned from some very talented coaches over the years," said Madigan, who coached Division I players Daniel Hackett (USC) and Cezar Guerrero (Fresno State) at St. John Bosco.
Madigan takes over for Baskerville, who headed the Pioneers for two seasons. Under Baskerville, Providence won its first league championship in more than a decade, advanced to the program's first-ever CIF Southern Section championship game — only the second appearance in any sport in school history — and qualified for the state playoffs for the first time.
Baskerville had a 36-23 record in his two years at Providence. He left after a 2012-13 season in which the team had its struggles. The Pioneers (10-17) placed third in the Liberty League Tournament and qualified for the CIF Southern Section playoffs as an at-large team. The team suffered a 72-66 loss in the first round to Lancaster Desert Christian.
During the season, highly touted sophomore Marcus LoVett Jr., an All-State player and All-Area Player of the Year in 2012, was sidelined with an illness. LoVett left the squad for good before the conclusion of the 2012-13 campaign and transferred out of the school.
The Providence program also lost its best returning player when senior Christian Ware-Berry transferred to West Ranch during the summer.