Burbank High wanted to hire a new boys' basketball coach with experience. It got just that in Jerry DeLaurie.
DeLaurie has been hired to replace Jose Hernandez, who left last month to take a job at Corona High.
DeLaurie, who has been a physical education teacher at Jordan Middle School for six years, comes to Burbank after coaching stints with the L.A. Baptist girls' program and the Pasadena Marshall Fundamental boys' and Blair boys' and girls' programs.
"I'm very excited to be given the opportunity," said DeLaurie, 43. "I've worked in the district and I've been patient about hopefully landing a head coaching job and the opportunity arose, I applied and I was lucky enough to get it."
The coach said he is looking forward to working with the Bulldogs players and welcomes the opportunity to build a successful program.
"I think that we have some talent here and I think we have the opportunity to put together a successful team," he said. "I hope we can hit the ground running and although we don't have a lot of time, we'll make the best of it."
Burbank Principal Hani Youssef said DeLaurie brings a great deal of coaching experience and an unrelenting work ethic to the Bulldogs program.
"We are very excited to have Jerry as our coach," Youssef said. "If you look at the schools where he has been able to be successful, those schools are a lot smaller than Burbank High and don't have near as many students as we do. So, we're excited about the potential.
"We are also excited about his concept of community, and in his references many referred to how hard his kids play and how hard he works with his teams."
DeLaurie's last head coaching job was with L.A. Baptist — now Heritage Christian — during the 2010-11 season. Under DeLaurie, the Eagles went 19-11 and 4-4 in the Olympic League. The team advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division IV-AA quarterfinals, losing to finalist Bishop Montgomery, 69-44.
DeLaurie was able to turn around the Marshall boys' program when he was at the school for three seasons ending in 2009. His squads went 57-25 and advanced to the CIF semifinals twice and the quarterfinals once in three seasons.
DeLaurie said he left the Marshall program because there was no teaching position available. He found that position in the Burbank Unified School District.
"I was at Marshall for three years hoping a teaching job would open up and it never did," he said. "In fact, they were cutting teaching positions. It was very difficult for me to leave the school.
"Now at Burbank, I have a teaching position in the district and I have the coaching position at Burbank High. That's very important for me."
Along with coaching at Blair, he was also the boys' head coach at West High in Bakersfield, where he graduated from in 1988. His team had a 19-8 record in 2006.
In addition to coaching basketball, DeLaurie has been an assistant tennis coach at Burbank for three years under coach Loi Phan.
"He's a good coach and he knows how to motivate the players," Phan said.
DeLaurie takes over for Hernandez, who led the program for nine years. Hernandez was hired in June 2003 and replaced David Goosen, who was fired in January of that year for alleged CIF Southern Section and district rules violations.
The coach inherited a team that went 0-23 during the 2002-03 season and didn't win a game in the Foothill League (0-10). Over the course of the next seven seasons, the Bulldogs improved on their league victories every year, jumping from the Foothill League to the Pacific League in 2006.
Hernandez finished his tenure at Burbank with a 120-114 record and a 52-60 league tally. In addition, his teams qualified for the postseason seven times in nine seasons and the Bulldogs had two second-place league finishes (2008-09, 2009-10) and five winning seasons.
Under Hernandez, Burbank's most successful season came during the 2009-10 campaign. After finishing second in the Pacific League, the Bulldogs (23-9, 10-4 in league) marched to the CIF Southern Section II-AA semifinals, where the No. 11-seeded squad fell to Compton, 71-48.
Last season, the Bulldogs went 12-16 and 8-6 in the Pacific League to tie for third. Burbank fell in the opening round of the Division I-A playoffs to Chino Hills, 57-45.