When Chico Hernandez took over as head coach of Baldwin High School in the fall of 2017, he knew he would need help.
After all, he had just spent two seasons as an assistant at Boise State and his father, Alberto Hernandez, had coached at Baldwin since the 1980s.
But with the school already reeling from a lack of football talent and an unproven senior class, it was the perfect time to bring in a coach who had a background in basketball.
He was a former NBA player himself, and Hernandez was known for building strong teams in the NCAA, where he won three national championships.
So when the Hernandez family offered to give the newly minted head coach a job, he was thrilled.
“He was a very high-character, hard-working guy,” Hernandez told ESPN.
“That’s what I wanted.”
Hernandez, who has also worked for Arizona, Arizona State and Texas A&M, was immediately introduced to the players and coaches at Baldwin, who had not been to the postseason since 2010.
His first job, Hernandez told me, was to get to know the players’ personalities and personalities, the culture, and how they interacted with each other.
He started by showing the team their favorite food and how it was made, which he said were the most common complaints.
“We had one of the best restaurants in the world,” Hernandez said.
“You could get a $50 burger for two bucks.
That’s what we ate, but then we’d go and go get our coffee.
“I’ve never seen a program with that.” “
The thing that I liked the most was how he was just trying to bring a sense of camaraderie to our players and our coaches,” Hernandez continued.
“I’ve never seen a program with that.”
One of the things Hernandez liked about the players was that they were always motivated.
“One of the biggest things they wanted was a little bit of drama,” he said.
And he liked how the players would come together for the win, no matter how big of a win it was.
“And then they would just say, ‘You know what?
We’re not done yet,'” Hernandez said, laughing.
The players also liked that Hernandez was always available, even when they didn’t have the best seasons on the team.
“When they were playing in their junior year, they were all over the place, playing against each other and talking to each other,” Hernandez recalled.
“It was fun.
I’ve always been a fan of teams that were like that.”
But that’s not what made Hernandez so special.
He wanted to be the most experienced coach on the coaching staff, one who knew how to build and coach the team, and he was.
Hernandez told the players that he had played professionally since the age of 11, and that he was a high school coach who enjoyed coaching younger kids, because they didn´t need to have a full-time job to have fun and enjoy themselves.
“But that doesn’t mean I don´t love to work with high school kids,” he continued.
So he started recruiting high school players from around the state to join his team.
He recruited some high school juniors and sophomores, and then a couple of seniors from the University of Arizona.
They started playing basketball on March 6, 2018, the first day of school.
By the end of the first half, the team had won four games in a row and had the No. 1 ranking in the nation.
Hernandez said that the team was one of his biggest draws to the school, especially since they were a team that was full of “glamour” players and the school was known as a place where everyone wanted to hang out.
“Everybody wanted to do things,” Hernandez explained.
“This is the school that you want to be.
This is the college that you should go to.
This isn´t the school where you want a lot of partying, because you can get hurt, or get into trouble.
Hernandez brought in the players to learn about the program, but they were just starting to make an impression. “
If you’re the kind that loves to work hard, you want the guys that work hard to be able to have success, and they have to be very passionate and really motivated,” he added.
Hernandez brought in the players to learn about the program, but they were just starting to make an impression.
“Chico had all the answers, and I just knew that he would get the players involved,” said teammate Michael Kopech, a senior forward.
“They all knew what was going on and how to handle the situations, and it just clicked.
It was just really fun.”
Hernandez went on to lead the team to the NCAA tournament, and when the NCAA chose Baldwin to play in the 2017 Final Four, he received a standing ovation as he walked out of the stadium, smiling from ear to ear. “In