BREAKING NEWS: La Salle hires Jelani Gardner as next boys basketball coach, takes over Steve Goldstein.

La Salle High School has selected Jelani Gardner as its next boys basketball coach. La Salle athletic director Anthony Harris confirmed the news, though an official announcement won’t be made until school resumes from spring break. Harris said Gardner, a St. John Bosco assistant, will be introduced to parents in a couple weeks.

Gardner takes over Steve Goldstein who resigned after a near three-decade career at the helm.

The La Salle position was an attractive position, drawing strong interest from respectable area coaches that included Renaissance Academy Sid Cooke and former La Canada Muir coach Rocky Moore. According to sources, La Salle went after Pasadena coach Tim Tucker who was considered the top choice.

Gardner, a phenom at St. John Bosco and Cal, takes over a program that is in the rebuilding stages.

“I’m really happy with his selection,” Harris said. “He’s hungry. He has a great basketball game. We’re looking forward to the future of La Salle.”

That Gardner comes from a private school background had little to do with his selection.

“Not at all,” Harris said. “With his experience we felt like he was a good fit, his ability to really truly develop kids. We’re not St. John Bosco. We don’t want to be St. John Bosco. I think he’s a really good guy who will lead us in a good direction.

St. John Bosco is coming off an impressive season after reaching the finals of the CIF State Southern California Regional championship game.

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  • bfan

    Congratulations Jelani, wishing you and your new team much success. If you can get your players to play up to half of your level you will have a great team.

  • FootballGuy

    Rocky Moore never coached at La Canada. His son, Rocky, played football and basketball at La Canada. I believe the Dad coached at Muir and LA City College.

    Also, La Canada hired a new football coach. He comes from Florida.

  • elrayoex

    Breaking News – PSN baseball coverage is horrible. Get on your bike and ride.

  • Nonsense

    Amazing! A private school at the bottom of their league hires a guy with NO head coaching experience, a series of “problems” that have followed him (drug suspensions, taking money, NCAA ineligibility, and getting suspended from coaching in a 7-8 yr old youth league
    This will not go well and end badly for not only Gardner, but also Mr Harris.

  • prepfan2

    So La Salle has a new athletic director, a new principal, a new football coach, and a new boys’ basketball coach… all in the span of one year. Is this what those spokesmen mean when they say they want to “move a program in a new direction?”

  • Patrick

    @ Nonsense, SHUTUP please! you cowards come on here acting as if you know people on a personal level, and to top that off wishing them bad luck!! I personally deflect that karma back at ya!

  • More nonsense

    Nothing personal at all. Just facts as they’ve been presented. Hard to trun from that. Not wishing anything on anybody – just a prediction based on those facts and past history. Not hard to see where this one goes.

  • ball in sgv

    Way to lower your standards la salle. taking money in college, transfer issues. what a great coach to teach these young boys…but hey at least he knows hot to get through loopholes. alot of high profile coaches turned this job down. so they must have been desperate. this is really reaching…

  • La Salle WHO?

    I thought the new A.D. at La Salle was Football Kryptonite but now it seems he is total sports kryptonite. La Salle will soon be unrecognizable…in a BAD way. Alumni should be angry.
    Why did such a nice little school allow such a drastic change in athletics and lower the reputation of the school as a classy academic place?

    The next A.D. will have a lot of public image work to do for the school. If I had a non-athlete kid at that school I’d transfer them to one of the MANY MANY other private school choices in that area who keep sports and character in their proper place.

  • Nonsense

    Patrick – here’s what we know

    -Headache at his first HS. (Dad coming out of stands to coach him in between quarters, etc)
    -Recruited by trtavel coach to transfer HS (and he wasn’t the only one)
    -Apartment arranged at no-cost to establish residence at 2nd HS.
    -Maintained residence at first house.
    -New SUV after signing day (surprise)
    -Family took money in exchange for his enrollment
    -Suspended in college (along with some teammates) for testing positive for drugs
    -Playing time getting cut, so family threatened to blow the whistle on the head coach
    -Tape recorded coach (without his knowledge) to confirm the above was true
    -Violations became public and launched NCAA investigation
    -College forfieted games he particpated in
    -Events got coach banned from NCAA for 8 yrs
    -Listed among Top (bottom?) 25 scandals in NCAA history
    -Bounced around various levels of basketball chasing the money
    -Hooked up with coach described as “shady” at best to begin coaching HS
    -Rampant transfers and recruiting allegations at said HS
    -Starts “club” program to coach his kids and colect money from their teammates
    -Enrolls team in local “recreational” basketball league for 7-8 yr olds
    -Gets indignant because the league has rules against pressing and double teaming 8 yr olds
    -Arguments with referees/lleague officials lead to getting kicked out of a 7-8 yr old league!
    -Arguments with referees/lleague officials lead to getting kicked out of a 7-8 yr old league!
    -Going back to #1 shows the apple apparently doesn’t fall far from the tree

    and THIS is what we get to build character in the student-athletes at La Salle. Now where do we see this headed?

  • BacktoBlog

    Based on what Harris has done to date, I am surprised he did not hire one of his buddies from Campbell Hall.

    LaSalle has tried to balance academics, Catholic education, and athletics for years. It now looks like they are now trying to swing the balance over to the athletic side. I am glad my son graduated when he did.

  • Chad

    Does everyone in life deserve a second chance? From personal experience, this is a good guy who understands that a second opportunity should be treated with respect and integrity. Don’t be so quick to judge.

  • Disappointed SGV parent…

    …now seriously reconsidering sending our kids to La Salle HS — as are several parents at our local feeder school. Wow, after reading all the evidence out there, I’m in shock by this decision. This is a major negative statement re the lack of judgment of the school’s new athletic director and the school board. What happened to upholding the school’s core values in all aspects of HS life especially in athletics? Gardner may be a nice guy, a big name who once played professionally (in Europe), and even a local boy, but you can’t deny three major facts here that normally would have cut him from any short list for the head coaching spot at the top, most respected HS basketball programs in Southern California: 1) Evidence of his unethical decisions and violation of rules in both HS and college basketball, 2) His very recent (last February 2012, two months ago?!) expulsion from coaching basketball in a local pee-wee league, and 3) He has NO head coach experience at the high school level, let alone any proven record of winning, or even a history of instilling core values in student athletes. I wish I could say these claims were just allegations, but sadly they’re all facts — What on earth was the school thinking in approving this decision?? Coach Goldstein should be embarrassed by his replacement — what an insult to his 30 years of service to LSHS. I wouldn’t be surprised if more La Salle alumni protest this embarrassing, incredibly poor decision. Mark my words, this is the beginning of the end for La Salle’s respectable reputation. If they’re making these kinds of decisions for athletics, Lord only knows what poor choices they’re making when it comes to academics.

  • Demond White

    I think people should know all the facts before they start to speak on another persons life, The mistakes Jelanie made 15 years age does not define the man that he has become, We all have made bad decisions as teenagers and adults, Mr. Gardner is overqualified for this coaching position not only is he a former Mc Donald’s all American, Has played in the Pac 12 and WCC, a graduate from a university of higher learning(Pepperdine), and played professional basketball for over a decade, The kids at La Salle will benefit from Mr. Gardner”s life experiences good and bad. Remember when you point a finger at someone you have 3 fingers pointing right back at you, How about going to support those kids and their new coach instead of casting stones at them!!!!!!!!!!!

  • What a joke!

    Demon – no, one becomes “over-qualified” by first demonsttrating “qualifications”. His being a McDonalds All American is no more significant than the indescretions during the same time period. His playing in the Pac 10 and Pepperdine no more prepared him to coach at La Salle than the drug suspension and NCAA violations while he was there should exclude him.

    What exact “coaching” qualifiactions has he demonstrated? Jumping in a recruiters bandwagon at SJB? Or getting kicked out of a 7-8 yr old pee wee league?

    The AD’s comments are just as ridiculous. “With his experience (NONE) … his ability to really truly develop kids (Who has he “developed”? Hasn’t been coaching long enough to “develop” anyone)…. I think he’s a really good guy (“good guys don’t get kicked out of pee wee leagues) who will lead us in a good direction” (Direction? If past AND current events indicate a pattern we’ll see transfers, recruiting allegations, disregard for rules, conflicts with parents, other coaches, officials, and administration. That’s a “good” direction?)

  • Demond White

    WOW you are a very angry/mean person, i will pray for God to bring peace to your heart!!!!!

  • Having played professional with Jelani i know of his character and professionalism. He is well aware of the mistakes made in the past. However he has played in the top leagues in Europe for many years, not one disciplinary problem or rule violation occurred. Would have gone to the NBA if not for a kidney failure that almost ended his career. He is someone with life and basketball experience that im afraid non of the competing coaches for this position come close to matching. He has learnt from his mistakes and has rebuild his career and integrity, some one that can offer real world experience to these kids, as purely from an athletic and X’s and O’s he knows what it take’s to make it and be successful. One of the hardest working players i have played with or against. He made mistakes in the past, could have been for a number of reasons, healthy, family, agent pressures etc. He has learned a valuable lesson and given a chance to have a huge impact on these kids lives and basketball career. One that im sure he will grab with both hands and go from strength to strength.

    Before you judge a man first walk a mile in his shoes. Maybe before you condemn his appointment, meet, discuss, question the man himself to get an idea of who he is now. Best of luck J, you have come a long way and this is only the beginning of what will be a great coaching career. The kids you coach are lucky to have you as a coach and mentor.

  • reality

    What did he learn if he got kicked out of a Pee Wee basketball league less than two months ago? Forget the distant past. THIS year he had a big enough conflict with referees and or league directors that he got kicked out of the league. How’s he now going to handle a high school administration, boosters, and a more pressure packed high school game if he can’t handle 7-8 year olds?


    Did it really say that? Kicked out of a U8 basketball league? That’s not someones opinion or hate. That ACTUALLY happened! Two months ago? WOW!


    Mr. Gardner has no class. Zero, zip, zilch, NADA. I personally witnessed him threaten the ref at the pee wee game.
    He’s not qualified to be coaching youth of any age.
    When he’s not threatening other adults, he’s arrogant, demeaning, and insulting.
    LaSalle’s ignorant decision to let a man of Goldstein’s caliber walk away will be another schools gain, I can assure you of that.

  • 2000

    Looks like La Salle has taking the win at all costs approach to sports as of late.

  • Realityczech

    Except the reality is they still won’t win and will be just fighting with Bishop Amat to stay out of last place in the Del Rey League. They have no chance of surpassing Serra, Bishop Montgomery, and now a revived St Bernards is returning. That leaves BA and LS at the bottom of that barrell. They’ll probably split and both be 1-6 in league.

  • 2000

    never understood why they are in that particular league considering the distance between the schools.

  • Mapquest

    I bet La Salle is closer to those schools than Amat. Mapquest it?

  • Mapquest

    I bet La Salle is closer to those schools than Amat. Mapquest it?

  • I think his (Mr. Harris’s) appointment is more of a personal decision…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But more importantly, it demonstrates a lack of continuity with regards to the “standard” of coaching in the San Gabriel Valley. Experienced coaches leaves – voluntarily or involuntarily, and the position is given – not vetted – to virtually anyone. And most often without any explainations.

    Coach Brownfield (Muir’s former head football coach) once said that the word/title “Coach” is for life – once you start, you can’t get rid of it because of how the position is viewed and respected by your players/students. It’s no surprise that Muir’s new coach, J. Hardy, was a former student/player of Mr. Brownfield. All of the A.D.’s and the school officials should remember that first when placing an ad or opening for a “Coach.” It may help make their decisions a lot easier.

    Laurence Todd

  • Jake

    Will be @the parents/coach meeting will see what reactions will there be and let’s hope for the “Best”!!!! Go Lancers!!!!!!!