D.J. Gay hired as men’s basketball coach at La Jolla Country Day
On the times D.J. Gay walks into Viejas Arena, the chants that follow his name still echo like it’s March of 2011. The familiar refrain, etched by arena announcer Bryan Main, doesn’t need to be explained in detail. When you see the name D.J. Gay, you don’t say it plainly. You fill your lungs with air, think of his trademark smile and pull up three pointers, and let it loose. D…J….Gay.
It’s a moniker that will follow him to his new job – if he gets around to instructing La Jolla Country Day to install it.
“I should have put it in the contract,” Gay, the new head basketball coach, said. “That would be amazing…or maybe [Main] can go in and give the guy a lesson.”
It’s D.J.’s job to give the lessons now. After a short stint at Victory Christian, and a few years in the club realm, it’s time for Gay to take over a big time team the same way he had to lead the likes of Leonard, Tapley and Thomas nearly a decade ago. Gay will have his hands full in a tough Coastal League that carries some of the best teams in the county. But much like his SDSU roots, change comes slowly and lasts a lifetime.
“Love the challenge,” Gay said. “I love building. I love culture. I love opportunity. And I get that all with La Jolla Country Day.”
You can’t have better coaching influences in your past and present than what D.J. has. Steve Fisher and Brian Dutcher brought a young player into the spotlight. And even on his new campus, having a girls basketball coach with 22 years of championship experience there in Terri Bamford will help land the ship properly.
“A big thing that [Fisher and Dutcher] did that I take away is that they coached the personnel,” Gay said. “When I took the job, I got 50 questions about what type of offense I was going to run…my answer is that I can’t tell you that until I learn my team personnel.”
Before our conversation ended, I did ask Gay about his Aztecs brethren, sitting at home after a 30 and 2 season without an NCAA Tournament ending.
“It’s devastating to end the season and not know what would have been,” Gay said. “The fact that we don’t have closure is tough.”