They hired an individual who not only competed for the Tornadoes,
but excelled under Coach Brian Beauchemin at Glendale Community
College and Bob Williams -- now the head men's coach at the
University of California at Santa Barbara -- at UC Davis.
The Tornado athletic department confirmed Tuesday the hiring of
33-year-old Vigen Jilizian, who graduated from Hoover in 1988 before
becoming the all-time assist leader -- for a game, season and career
-- at GCC and eventually enjoying a successful career at UC Davis.
"I've got some big shoes to fill," said Jilizian, who spent the
past five seasons as an assistant at Alhambra under Joe Petralia, who
also served as an assistant under Beauchemin at GCC when Jilizian
played from 1988-90.
"When you talk to people about basketball here, they don't say
that it's Hoover basketball, they say it was Kohlmeier's program.
And that's why some people say that I'm not just getting the job at
Hoover, but that I'm replacing Kohlmeier. He had a lot of guys who
were very faithful to him and I'm definitely one of them."
In terms of loyalty, Jilizian had no trouble when it came time to
find an assistant, selecting former GCC and UC Davis teammate, Bruce
Heicke, a 33-year-old graduate of Sherman Oaks Notre Dame who also
served as an assistant under Beauchemin at GCC.
"It wasn't a hard sell because I've always loved coaching," said
Heicke, who, along with Jilizian, was selected the Vaqueros' Co-most
valuable player in the 1989-90 season after GCC came within one game
of qualifying for the State Final Eight.
"The opportunity was there, so it was a no-brainer."
Said Jilizian: "Joe was a good guy to be an assistant for and he's
been totally supportive. But this situation is kind of nice with
Bruce here, because we're already on the same page. We're doing a
lot of stuff we're used to."
Jilizian will be a walk-on coach for this season, maintaining his
job as a world history teacher at Alhambra.