The 2010-11 season will mark the debut of two new basketball head coaches on St. Monica Catholic High School’s sidelines: Khi-Ming Jung on the boys’ side and John Skinner on the girls.
Jung arrives from Samohi, where he was an assistant to head coach James Hecht, a St. Monica alum. Samohi made it to the final of California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Div. 1 playoffs last season before losing to powerhouse Leuzinger. Prior to the Samohi stint, Jung was at Hawthorne High for four years, three as an assistant, and as head coach during the 2007-08 season.
Jung was a guard at Culver City High School, where he graduated in 1998. He played in college at Cal State Los Angeles and Cal State Monterey Bay before working a corporate job. Finding that it wasn’t something he wanted to do, he said he decided to become a substitute math teacher, which took him to Westchester and Los Angeles high schools, among others. At St. Monica, he will also teach several math classes.
Jung was hired late last month, but he has already practiced with the team for several weeks. The players “want to get better” and he is very “impressed with their work ethic,” the new coach said. The team has been mostly focused on conditioning, running on the beach, and doing ‘the stairs’ in Santa Monica and Culver City.
“The transition has been very smooth,” Jung said. “I’ve been really working them hard and no one complains.”
The team has eight seniors, but it’s the 5-foot-8-inch junior point guard Nick Chaidez that Jung counts on to lead the team. Six-foot-
1-inch senior center Anthony Palmieri is also stepping up and “leading by example” when the drills get hard, Jung added.
Jung said he wants to instill the winning philosophy that he learned working under Hecht, what he calls “a great basketball mind.” To get there he said, “as far as preparing mentally, I just want to work hard.
“That’s all we preach to our players,” he said. “As far as the talent level, that comes and goes. It’s all about dedication and positive attitude.”
Jung replaces Tony Depa, who coached the Mariners for the past five seasons and resigned in June for personal reasons. Under Depa, the team went 81-55 and captured the Camino Real League title last season for the first time in 20 years.
St. Monica Athletic Director Rick Bruce said Jung was a good fit for the program because he has “a fair amount of experience” and comes from a local school with a winning track record. “I’m sure Khi-Min Jung will get it done,” Bruce said.
Jung has several new additions to the bench. Luke Garner, a St. Monica alum who was at West Torrance High last year, will serve as varsity assistant coach. Alberto Reyes, who coached at Hawthorne for three years, will also join the staff. The only remaining coach from last season will be Joey Calderon, junior varsity head coach, who has been in his position three years.
Season begins Nov. 29 with the St. Monica Tip-Off Invitational.
In mid-July, John Skinner took over as head coaching duties of the Mariner girls’ basketball team. Skinner was previously an assistant to Therese Charkut, who stepped down in May but remains at the school as director of admissions.
“John knows the girls well,” Bruce said. “He’s got three starters and a good group of seniors this year. They were in the playoffs last year and got to the second round.”