NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Stan Watson is no stranger to the Hoover High gym, having spent plenty of time over the years watching the Tornadoes girls' basketball team while evaluating talent for the Glendale Community College women's team.
Now, however, the former longtime Vaqueros assistant Coach will call the Hoover campus home after he was named head coach of the Tornadoes girls' team on Monday.
"I'm looking forward to it and hopefully I can be successful in terms of mentoring and demonstrating to the ladies the love of the game," said Watson, who is making his debut as a head coach. "I realize it's going to be a process and I'm giving myself a reasonable amount of time to see the benefits of our effort, but hopefully if I can get the ladies to get on board with what I want to instill in them, they'll feel good about their participation."
Watson, who is coming off a 14-14 campaign in his most recent season as an assistant coach at Glendale college, will replace Martik Ghookasian, who has run the program for the last three seasons.
"He has a wealth of experience in coaching both female and male basketball players, which will benefit our girls," Hoover Athletic Director Jack Van Patten said of Watson. "He understands and promotes the importance of the 'student' part of the 'student-athlete.'
"Having watched and observed our teams the last few years, as an assistant at GCC, he is aware of our athletes' strengths and areas in which they need improvement."
Watson, who said he made the decision to pursue other opportunities when Vaqueros Coach Monica Hang accepted a position at Los Angeles Valley College in early June, inherits a team that went 3-14 and 0-7 in the Pacific League last season.
But he will have some good seniors to work with including Lauraine Barakat, Forever Moon and Nare Israelyan.
"We've watched Hoover over the years and I saw that the program was not really performing the way they had hoped they could have," said Watson, whose Glendale college teams have included former Hoover standouts Rachael Estrella and Chelsea Baquiero in recent years. "We're here to turn Hoover around a little bit, shake some things up and get people excited about the program."
Watson was formally introduced to the team on Monday and plans to hold his first practice today with stints in summer tournaments at South Pasadena High and Burbank ahead.
"I always do things a little differently than many coaches," Watson said. "It's not about wins and losses, it's really about having a true appreciation for the game they're choosing to play. They were here before me and hopefully I can help them along the way."