Coming off a winless Southwest Yosemite League season and a 5-25 overall record in 2018-19, the Centennial High girls basketball team made major improvements last year.
The Golden Hawks won more games in the opening month of the 2019-20 season than all of the previous season and finished a respectable 14-15 and 4-6 in SWYL play.
A first-year assistant on the team last year, Mike Ramos will be charged with continuing that momentum this season.
The Boston native was hired Wednesday night to replace Priscilla Wright as the Golden Hawks’ new head coach.
“I love giving back to the youth and I feel that when you’re a basketball player you have all this shared knowledge,” said Ramos, who was a junior varsity coach at Bakersfield Christian and a local AAU coach before coming to Centennial last year. “There’s no need for you to just keep it and lock it away. You have to teach it, you have to share it and help those in need.”
During his time at BCHS, Ramos feels he improved as a coach for Kyle Shiloh, the former Garces star who went on to play professionally overseas for several years before coaching the Eagles.
“I learned a lot from them, from their program and how things are run,” Ramos said. “And I think I took that with me over to Centennial as an assistant last year. You learn from everyone that is ahead of you. You kind of take notes and sit in the background quietly. But I’m the guy that asks a lot of questions to the point where I can be a little bit annoying. But it’s because I want to know why things are the way they are. I think that’s what makes me so passionate about coaching.”
Ramos’ energy and passion are two of the things that impressed Centennial athletic director Tom Haskell the most.
“He’s very positive, very energetic, very old-school; I’d say he’s a players’ coach,” Haskell said. “He’s the type of person that the kids will want to play for and give that extra effort. He’s that type of guy.”
Haskell had an opportunity to see Ramos in action with the team last year, and is excited to see what he can do with the team this season.
“He had a really good rapport with the girls last year,” Haskell said. “I know he does a lot of training with our girls, so he knows who our girls are. So I think that helps him out a lot. He had a really good background. He’ll be firm in what he wants them to do, but he’s not one of those coaches that’s going to berate his players. You know? Make one mistake on the court and you’re coming out. I think it’s good for our girls, good for sports in general.”
Despite the team’s success last season, Ramos believes his team can be better, and is looking to put his stamp on the Golden Hawks’ style of play.
“I try to coach my players to be well-rounded,” Ramos said. “Don’t be really good at just one thing. Be balanced at all things. That’s a mind-set that I try to have with all the kids. Play defense. Defense creates offense. You don’t have to work so hard on offense if you can create some turnovers, play the passing lanes and play smart.
“So we can implement a style of play, find our identity early on in the season and make sure that we capitalize on our strengths. It will build a culture where we want to be there, we want to compete.”