In hiring Jeff LaMere to replace Rodney Tention, Palo Alto has brought on another individual with extensive collegiate experience to guide its boys basketball program.
LaMere, who grew up in the Sacramento area, went to college at Duke, where he was a student manager with the men’s basketball team. When Duke assistant Mike Bray (now the veteran Notre Dame coach) got the job at Delaware, LaMere went with him to begin his coaching career.
Jeff LaMere/Stanford Athletics
When Capel left VCU to take the Oklahoma job, LaMere made his return to California, joining former Duke star player and assistant Johnny Dawkins as director of basketball operations at Stanford from 2008-2016. It was during that time he first became acquainted with the program across the street at Palo Alto High. He gained close-up knowledge this past year as the Paly freshman coach and as an assistant to Tention.
“It’s an amazing tradition, I’m very excited to try to continue the success of the program,’’ LaMere said. “I want to do it the right way, with the dignity the program has had. Hopefully results will follow.’’
As far as the differences between coaching in college and in high school …
“My year as freshman coach really helped a lot,’’ LaMere said. The Paly kids have so much pressure on them academically, similar to the kids I was around at Duke and Stanford. You have to understand when a big test or paper is coming up and how it might affect how they perform.’’
X’s and O’s …
“Defense travels,’’ LaMere said. “This is a great group. There was a question last year with all the guys they lost. The big thing was that once adversity hit, the toughness and grit they showed really turned things around. I’m excited about the number of players we have coming back who were able to experience that. Regardless of what level you’re at you’ve got to build trust with your team. What kind of life skills can you teach them?’’
After his time at Stanford concluded LaMere maintained his ties to the area. He is a Palo Alto Parks and Recreation Department commissioner.
“It’s a lot of fun,’’ LaMere said. “I really believe in service to the community.’’