99% of the time, when something sounds too good to be true, it is—don’t tell fans of the Lakewood Lancers. The “Dream Team” that Lakewood just announced will take over its football program really does almost sound too good to be true.
Terrell Davis, Byron Chamberlain, Ben Coleman, Tyree Washington…Lakewood’s new team of coaches, led by head man Kenric Jameison, reads more like an NFL Pro Bowl roster than a high school football coaching staff.
“We’re excited about Kenric and his staff bringing cutting edge training and skills that will hopefully make us instant contenders in CIF,” said Lakewood principal Mario Jiminez. “Although he will be a walk-on, we have a coach who is committed to being on campus for a good portion of the day, as well.”
The head coach will be Jameison, a former DBs coach at Chaparral High School in Temecula. Due respect to Jameison, who actually made reference to this fact in his introduction to his new team on Monday—but he’s the least exciting name in the complement of coaches that just landed at Lakewood.
CLICK HERE to see Jameison address his team for the first time.
The running backs coach will be Davis, the Super Bowl MVP and three-time Pro Bowler, who played his NCAA ball at Long Beach State. Coleman, the offensive coordinator, was an NCAA All-American and had a 10-year NFL career. Chamberlain will coach the receivers, and has two Super Bowl rings and a Pro Bowl career to his name. Travis Davis will be the defensive coordinator, and with “just” a four-year career in the NFL is the least pro-experienced assistant on the new staff; he was also an All-American at Notre Dame.
Speed and agility coach Tyree Washington was the world’s fastest man in 2003 and is a two-time World Games gold medalist. Washington is also planning on running the track program for the Lancers. US Olympic Weightlifting-certified coach Ray Anderson will be the strength program for football, and will also assist other sports. In addition, Mike Mendinghall will assist with the general operation of the program, and serve as an assistant WRs coach.
“I don’t want just average guys,” said Jameison. “I’m excited—I believe this is one of the top public school jobs in Southern California, and there’s big potential here.”
Jameison also got to meet his team of Lancers for the first time on Monday afternoon, with the first meeting attended by all of his assistants scheduled for later this week. He was greeted by his team for the first time in the Lakewood weight room, where dozens of players sat on mats, and huddled around lifting apparatuses, leaning forward to get a first look at their new coach.
Jameison, clad in a white dress shirt with a Lancer-red sweater vest over top of it, minced no words. “They brought me here to lead, and I’m going to do that—and we will achieve. You guys have been good,” he said. “We’re going to be great.”
Players listened intently, and then “oohed” and “ahhed” over the announcement of the assistant coaching staff, especially when Davis’ name came up. Players punched each other on the arms, some with jaws dropped open in disbelief, prompting Jameison to remind the team that Davis would not be coming onto campus to sign autographs, but to coach them.
As far as a style, he promised his team that he and his assistants are strict disciplinarians, who plan on getting the results to justify their style. “Believe me, working with us will be the best thing that ever happened to you, and also your worst nightmare,” he said.
Jiminez acknowledged that the inherent risk in hiring Jameison is his relative lack of experience, something that Jameison himself acknowledged, and embraced. He told his team, “Nobody knows who I am, or what we’re going to do—be excited, and be ready to work.”
A pastor at New Hope Church, Jameison was a standout high school player himself before a blood clot ended his playing career. Through working with youth, he ended up using connections he had in the collegiate football world to help players in his congregation get scholarship opportunities—three seasons ago, he made the leap onto the sideline, as the DBs coach at Chaparral. The following season, he and his assistants went to Rancho Christian, a brand new school who he became the first coach of.
There, he was let go after the first game of his second season. A statement from the school at the time, as printed by the Press-Enterprise, said, “Although coach Jameison has shown great ability to cast a dynamic vision, gather an all star cast of coaches and athletes, there remains details, and organizational and structural challenges that have not been managed by him at a level appropriate for a high school head coach.”
At issue was differing visions of how quickly the small school’s program should be grown, with Jameison scheduling a high-D1 schedule for what was essentially a JV program. Another part of the statement from the school states that Jameison was “too ambitious.” That ambition is precisely the attitude that had Jameison excited to take over Lakewood’s program, and had the Lancers excited to offer him the job.
Now that Jameison (and his all-star assistant staff) are at a Division 1 school, with 4,000 students and a dedicated fan base? Well, it may sound too good to be true—or it may really be that good.