A razor-thin 53-52 victory over Cerritos College Saturday night gave men’s basketball coach Brian Beauchemin his 400th career win in the first round of the Southern California Regional Playoffs.
Following a turnover by Marc Walters with 36 seconds left, Dejon Lee deflected a desperation pass by Cerritos’ Marque’s Harris that fell into the hands of Kevin Krose. Krose passed to Lee who was heading to the basket. Even though Lee was fouled by Harris, he still scored on the lay-up.
“It’s great, I didn’t even know it was his 400th win,” Lee said. “That’s what made it more special.”
Coach Beauchemin’s squad didn’t make that 400 the easy way. Except for a few moments in the game, it looked as if Cerritos was the team whose coach was going for the win.
Cerritos, which entered the game with a record of 14-16 and ranked 25th in the tournament, had a 34-27 lead at half-time. But Glendale held the Falcons scoreless in the first seven minutes of the half, and took a 38-34 lead before Cerritos went on a 12-2 run, and held on until the final seconds.
“It was tremendous,” Beauchemin said. “We did it at home, and with this group it was kind of special.”
When Beauchemin took over the program in 1979, the team hadn’t made the playoffs since the 1958-59 season.
In his two decades as the Vaqueros’ head coach, Beauchemin now has a record of 401 wins (counting Wednesday night’s victory) and 275 losses. Winning 58 percent of the time, he is the most victorious coach in the school’s history.
Among his accomplishments:
He has commandeered 12 20-win seasons
He has won two conference titles
He has never lost a playoff game at home
He has taken his team to the Final 8 of the Southern California Regional Tournament for four years in a row
He has taken the Vaqueros to the playoffs in 17 of the past 22 seasons (including this season)
“He’s great to coach with,” second-year assistant coach Glen Messick said. “He makes his assistants part of the deal, you’re not coaching under him, but with him.”
What makes a good coach is the amount of hours he puts in each day. His days usually start before 7 a.m. and end around 10 p.m. Also, what makes a good coach is how he deals with his players, and how and when he is available to them.
“He goes beyond for everybody,” Messick said. “The last person he thinks about is himself, and when it comes to his players, coaches, and anybody who needs anything, he is always there for them.”
Many of Beauchemin’s assistants have gone on to run successful high school and collegiate programs, and many of his players go on to play at four-year schools.