Saturday, March 24th, 2007 at 9:34 pm in Uncategorized.
In a move that hadn’t been done all day, each member of the Long Beach Poly girls basketball team took time out of celebrating their second straight CIF Division I state title to hug opposing coach Gene Nakamura.
Nakamura coached his final game of his 24-year career at Berkeley High School.
So after all 16 Jackrabbits received their medals for beating Berkeley 58-52 on Saturday at Arco Arena, each player trekked halfway across the court to hug Nakamura.
That is what Nakamura earned in 24 years coaching at Berkeley. Nakamura is largely credited with giving girls basketball in Northern California a face.
Nakamura won two state titles and eight NorCal titles with the Yellow Jackets.
After Long Beach Poly coach Carl Buggs hugged and shook Nakamura’s hand and then posed for pictures, Nakamura walked off the court as a coach for the final time.
With his 3-year-old granddaughter Kaelie in tow, Nakamura walked through the tunnel toward his last post-game invterview. He was stopped by television cameras for one of his last TV interviews. The McClymonds boys team, which was waiting for its Division I game to start in the tunnel, also gave Nakamura an ovation.
That is what happens when you give something a face.