An Interview with Coach Gomes

TJ Deneault, Contributor

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An interview with Jamal Gomes, class of 1991, by TJ Deneault

How long have you been coaching and how did you get into it?

“This here is my 19th season as the head coach here at Hendricken,” Gomes said with a slight grin. It is Gomes’s 22nd year coaching basketball, which started off with a 3 year stint as an assistant coach. “I played basketball while I was here,” Gomes says with a smile. After finishing his high school career, Gomes went to Stonehill college and then after wrapping up there and getting his bachelor’s degree, played professional ball for 1 year in Ireland. Gomes then came back, stating his second teaching job was as a physical education teacher in 1998 (huge surprise there). Gomes took over in 2000 as head coach and states “don’t ask me where 19 years has gone” Gomes says with a smile. “Its gone by fast and I’m proud of the culture and success of our basketball program in those 19 years.”

Now that tryouts are over, how do you feel about the team this upcoming season?

“I feel excited about our team this year,” Gomes says confidently. The team this year has 8 returning players and 6 new players that are new to the varsity team, as well as a lot of veteran experience. The team also has a new transfer student who is a sophomore.  “We had an excellent first week of practice, our guys are working really hard. We have talent combined with veterans combined with new guys.” Gomes says all this with confidence and a hint of excitement in his voice. “I feel confident if we come together, and we continue to work hard and our guys listen, then we’ll have a successful season. We have a good group of young men.”

What do you think your biggest games are this year?

Gomes says he feels the league is very balanced in terms of talent and ability. He also states that La Salle is always a big game because of the rivalry between the 2 schools.

Gomes also states “our first game of the season against Cranston East is gonna be a big game. Their predicted to be one of the top teams in the state this year.” Cranston East was 17-8 last year, not a bad record but room for improvement. Gomes states that East has “at least” a  couple of first team all-state caliber players. “We have to play them at our place which is gonna be tough.” Gomes also states that all he tells his guys not to take anybody lightly because it doesn’t matter how many wins or loses they have. “One thing our guys understand is that we get everybody’s best game because we are Hendricken and because we are competitive every year.”

Does the Mangate go to the games? Do you have a message for them?

“I would think they do. They come to the bigger games like La Salle.”

Gomes’s message to the mangate is that the team “need their support just like during football season. We want the same support from football to come over to the basketball side.” The magnate is Hendricken “Rhody Ruckus,” a large section of students that have certain themes like “green and gold” or “blackout.” Gomes states he wants the same energy from the families and fans that they gave to the football team.

What are your hobbies when you aren’t coaching basketball?

“I wouldn’t call my family a hobby but I’m very close to family. I have a wife and 2 daughters, I help coach my daughter’s teams and try to be a part of their lives.  I’m also a piano player, I’ve played in bands and all that stuff. I enjoy construction and things with my hands. Basketball is important but it’s not the only thing.” Gomes says he tells his guys, “basketball should be important to you, but you have to have balance in your life.”