Two student-athletes try coaching
Southerland, Hernandez team-up in DeSoto
Duo enjoy coaching prep soccer, basketball
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- A pair of student-athletes from Southwestern Assemblies of God University have enjoyed the view from the playing surface to the sideline.
During the fall they tried their hand at coaching sports they are well acquainted with; soccer and basketball.
James Southerland, a 6’7 senior from Macomb, Illinois and Alec Hernandez, a 6-footer from San Antonio, were handed the reigns of the varsity soccer team at Canterbury School in nearby DeSoto.
The duo took over a very young varsity team that was comprised almost entirely of freshmen as well as the middle school soccer team. While the high school Cougars endured a winless season (0-14), the JrHi had a very good record.
Canterbury is a member of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS). The Cougars are in the toughest district in the state. It produced three of the four teams that advanced to the TAPPS Final Four.
The athletic director at Canterbury is no stranger to SAGU. Scott Vaughan was the men’s basketball coach and A.D. here until the 2006 season.
He has won five state championships there in eight years (two in boys basketball, three in volleyball) and is also a six-year advance scout for Utah Jazz.
He refers to Southerland and Hernandez, who was a wide receiver for SAGU, as “young bucks,” and is full of praise for their work.
“What I like about James is the discipline he utilizes with the boys,” said Vaughan, a graduate of Dallas Baptist University. “He works them hard and will sit (bench) kids for bad attitudes or lack of discipline on the field or in the classroom.”
“He seems to have the same value system that we like to instill in our players,” he continued.
Southerland is also serving as an assistant coach under Vaughan with the boys basketball squad while also coaching the junior varsity hoopsters.
“James understands the expectations I have for each of them. James knows the game of basketball well and will be a great asset for us with these high school and middle school guys.”
“What I like about Alec is his relationship with the players. He came from a tougher academic situation and has continued to communicate the importance of doing good work in the classroom as well as on the field. He worked primarily with the goalies and did a great job,” Vaughan added.
“Both of these guys have experiences they can share here. They also understand the meaning of hard work and the importance of pushing our players to be their best, individually and as a team,” he concluded.
Hernandez is helping coach track in the spring as well.
As for Southerland, a Sports Management major, he hopes to coach and/or scout in the future. He explained role and involvement at Canterbury.
“I was the technical head coach, so I planned practices,” he explained. “As for making line-ups and situational decisions, Alec and I would decide together.”
Southerland played three seasons for the Lions basketball team, scoring a career-high 15-points and 13 rebounds in a 93-91 road loss at Bacone College three years ago.
“(This fall) I have really learned what it means to care about these guys while showing them that soccer can teach us life-lessons,” he quipped. “We tried to instruct them about the need for being responsible.”
“Coach Vaughan has taught me so much already about understanding the talent level of your players and getting the most out of them.”
He said he was connected to the opportunities at Canterbury from a former SAGU basketball Assistant Coach, Jacob Holmes.
Vaughan has hired two other SAGU graduates at the Christian school; Jeff Ellis and Josh Harper.
Ellis, a former head coach of the Lady Lions women’s basketball team, coaches the Lady Cougars in the same sport at Canterbury. They just had another player sign with an NCAA Division I school.
Harper, who played baseball at SAGU after playing two sports at Midland Lee High Sschool, is the head baseball coach for the Cougars. Under his leadership they have made the playoffs in all four years he has been in control.
Canterbury’s athletes have recently been recruited by NAIA as well as NCAA D1 and D2 schools.
“College scouts are here recruiting throughout the year,” Vaughan pointed out.
“We have two of our girls currently playing D1 basketball and two others are on NAIA teams. That’s also part of the experience for our young coaches as well; promoting their players to the next level.”
“Of course, we welcome SAGU coaches here too!”