Having won 517 games over his 31-year career, head coach of the men’s basketball team, Brian Beauchemin, still has no plans for parting from GCC.
With the Western State Conference starting on Jan. 9 and lasting through the end of the third week of February, Beauchemin is prepping up his Vaqueros in anticipation for the playoffs. It’s not always easy for him to coach a consistent team, since it essentially changes every two years.
“Because of that two-year transitional period, it’s difficult to get the best athletes all the time,” Beauchemin said. “You’re constantly starting from scratch.
“That’s probably one of the most difficult and challenging things of coaching on this level, because you don’t have the players for four years, you don’t have scholarships to offer them and so therefore you’re always dealing with individuals that either have some academic issues or some physical issues, so you attempt to develop them so that they can go on and play at the next level.”
Only 18 teams out of more than 50 make the playoffs in the southern region. Beauchemin said that his teams have made the playoffs about 20 times.
The Vaqueros have appeared in the State of California Elite Eight twice: in 1985 and 2001. They made the regional finals in 1984, 1990, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000.
He said that even though he has had opportunities to advance into coaching at higher levels, he decided not to for family reasons.
“I don’t regret not moving on,” Beauchemin said. “I’ve enjoyed my career here. It’s been mostly satisfying, pretty challenging and pretty difficult at times as well.”
Beauchemin previously served as head coach of the Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High School boy’s basketball team before spending two years as an assistant coach with the L.A. Valley College men’s program.
His first career victory as coach for Glendale College was on Nov. 17, 1979, against visiting Mount San Antonio College.
After 31 years of coaching, does Beauchemin see the horizon of retirement soon?
“When I don’t have any juice to do this, I will probably look for something else to do,” Beauchemin said. “This has been a pretty important part of my life and all good things have to come to an end.”
However, even if he does decide to step down as head coach, he could still be on staff as an assistant coach.
“I could go on as a consultant or something of that nature if that’s what my interests were, or I might just kick back,” Beauchemin said.
Winning more than 500 games is no easy feat. Beauchemin mentioned that from a coaching standpoint, he’s always looking for character-driven players who want to be competitive at all times no matter what the adverse conditions are.
“If you get that kind of kid, usually you’re going to be successful, because in this day and age, it’s a pretty selfish world where everyone is in it for themselves,” the coach said.
“I’ve been pretty fortunate to have a number of kids who fit our system here, and that’s why we’ve enjoyed winning.”