And so the search is on for the next Ateneo Blue Eagles head coach… unless there is someone already tapped for the job.
The past few weeks, we have heard a lot of people suggest who they think should be head coach. I wish some were realistic because some of the names floated simply are impossible to poach at the moment.
Should the candidate for the 37th Ateneo head coach be an alumnus?
Let this guide you.
In the long history 92-year history of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, we have had 36 head coaches:
- 6 priests coaching the team (5 American & 1 Filipino). The American Jesuits were Fr. John Hurley, Fr. James Martin, Fr. Matthew Kane, Fr. Joseph Geib, and Fr. Denis Lynch. The Filipino priest was Fr. Cipriano Unson who picked up the slack in 1974 after baby Dalupan resigned due to a row with the school.
- 7 Americans (5 priests and 2 lay of whom both were products of Jesuit schools -- Al Dunbar of University of San Francisco where he played alongside the Russell brothers Bill and Charles, and Norman Black of St. Joseph's University).
- 2 UP Fighting Maroons - Joe Lipa and Bo Perasol
- 1 DLSU Green Archer - Perry Ronquillo who quit with 6 games to go in the season (because of pressure from Ateneo alumni)
- 1 JRC Heavy Bomber - Cris Calilan
- 1 Mapua Cardinal Joel Banal
- 1 former Ateneo de Davao Knight in Bong Go who coached Ateneo in its last year in the NCAA
- 21 former Blue Eagles who won titles when they were playing
- 2 who coached the team on three different times: Baby Dalupan and Cris Calilan
- 4 who coached the team on two different occasions: Jing Roco, Al Dunbar, Honesto Mayoralgo, and Mark Molina
- 3 who didn't finish their season: Bobby Littaua, Baby Dalupan, and Perry Ronquillo
- 4 who were former Ateneo team captains: Primitivo Martinez, Bing Ouano, Amador Obordo, and Ogie Narvasa
- 1 who was team captain of a title-winning squad and coach of a title-winning team: Bing Ouano
- 3 coaches won titles with other schools: Baby Dalupan with UE, Nilo Verona with Letran, and Joe Lipa with UP)
Norman Black was the longest-tenured coach who was on the sidelines for eight years. Rafael Roco and Baby Dalupan coached total of six years)
10 coached in the PBA: Baby Dalupan (Crispa, Great Taste, Purefoods), Bong Go (Great Taste), Ed Ocampo (Toyota and Pepsi Cola), Perry Ronquillo (Shell), Joe Lipa (Shell, Air21), Joel Banal (Talk N Text and Alaska), Chot Reyes (Purefoods, Coca Cola, Magnolia, Talk N Text), and Norman Black (San Miguel, Sta. Lucia, Pop Cola, Talk 'N Text, and Meralco), and Bo Perasol (Air21 and Powerade)
- 2 played in the PBA -- Matthew "Fritz" Gaston most notably with U-Tex and Crispa and Norman Black, the first ever recipient of the Mr. 100% Award
- 1 won a title while coaching the Blue Eaglets, Dodie Agcaoili
- 4 who won a title as a player and as a coach: Primitivo Martinez, Bing Ouano, Nilo Verona, and Matthew Gaston.
Three of the four coaches who have led Ateneo to UAAP glory and are non-alumni: Cris Calilan, Joel Banal, and Norman Black.
Now you know your Ateneo Blue Eagle history, let’s go back to the question, should the next head coach be an Ateneo alumnus?
It would be nice but not necessarily.
So in my opinion, being an alumnus SHOULD NOT BE PART OF THE CRITERIA in the search for the next Ateneo head coach.
I’d would like to humbly recommend that the criteria should include the following:
Must already possess a coaching background. The job is not for novice coaches. Ateneo is a high profile job. You do not learn on the job. If not, insert the candidate as an assistant so he can learn his way around.
Must be respectable and have a name because that will help in the recruiting.
Must have won a championship either as a player or as coach preferably in college, amateurs, or the pros. Because the knowledge of how to win will help in moving that team forward.
Must also have the reputation of being a teacher. In college ball where you are molding young players, it is good to have this sort of coach.
I am recommending Louie Alas who starred for Adamson in the mid-1980s (yes, I saw him play and he was a solid guard). Louie was drafted 21st overall in the 1990 PBA Draft by Purefoods but he sustained a career-ending knee injury during practice with the TJ Hotdogs forcing him to switch to coaching.
He has coached Letran to three NCAA titles with a budget that isn’t anywhere near the vicinity of Ateneo’s. Not even in the same neighbourhood. He was the first and only non-Letran alumnus to give the team a title and he won three.
He also won a championship with the Manila Metrostars in the MBA and one with the Philippine Patriots in the ABL. He’s been head coach of Mobiline/Talk ’N Text and has been an assistant with the Alaska Aces where he was a part of their14th title.
He specializes in defense and a relentless full court pressure that we saw with Letran and Alaska. Surely, you must remember that banner at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center about what wins championships. Furthermore, he likes teaching young players.
I have had numerous opportunities to be inside Letran’s locker room and to have attended a practice or two when Alas was head coach. He is an excellent motivator as well. In my most recent conversation with Louie that was yesterday, Sunday, he told me and his son, Kevin, that coaching a school like Ateneo or La Salle is going to the Dukes, Kentuckys, and North Carolinas of this part of God's green Earth and it would be an honor for him.
I understand that two UAAP schools have made inquiries about his availability as well as another NCAA team.
After Norman Black left for Talk ’N Text, I recommended Alas along with Alex Compton for the position. It will be impossible to pry Compton now but Alas remains a very good choice.
In a previous piece I wrote, I also recommended Vince Hizon for the position along with Boyet Fernandez.