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New Foxes head field hockey and basketball coaches take the helm

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A new era in King George High School coaching has begun. The 2013-2014 school year will open with Debra Garcia (left) as the Foxes new field hockey coach, and Darren Berkley (right) replacing Josh Luzier as the Foxes boys’ varsity basketball coach.

The 2013-2014 school year will usher in two new head varsity coaches at King George High School. Debra Garcia will replace longtime field hockey coach, Dee Blair Baughman, while Darren Berkley will chart a new course for the Foxes boys’ basketball team.


Both coaches were former high school and collegiate stars, but they have the task of taking their respective

 

teams into a new age of Virginia High School League sports. Although area competition will remain the same, post-season play will take on a new form, as teams throughout the state readjust to a new format of region and state competition.

As an assistant under her predecessor, Garcia witnessed the girls’ field hockey team achieve its best season in school history. Not only did they compete in the Battlefield District tournament, but they also posted their first ever, regional post-season berth. Garcia will have the daunting task of replacing nine graduated seniors, including two goalkeepers.

“All programs go through cycles, where you have a really good season, before having to figure out how you’re going to adjust to next season’s challenges,” Garcia said. “With change, there will be opportunities for new players to step up into positions.”

Before coming to King George, Garcia was an assistant field hockey coach at Fredericksburg Academy for six years. During her collegiate years, she played a huge role in helping Cornell University’s field hockey team win the 1991 Ivy League Championship.

Anxious to begin the season in a few weeks, Garcia is thrilled at the opportunity of molding the team into a champion. “The one thing I liked about King George players was that they learned willingly,” Garcia said. “I’ve never encountered a negative attitude from a player that was out there on the field with me. I enjoy coaching field hockey, because I love the sport, and I want more players to understand it, and love it just as much as I do.”

After experiencing an open gym a week ago, new Foxes varsity boys’ basketball coach Darren Berkley has already gotten a feel for the challenges that await him during winter sports months. “There is a lot of fundamental work to be done, but they are good kids, who listen,” Berkley said. “Open gym was tough to judge, because it was the first time I’ve seen them. I will do my own work to figure out the strength of the team.”

Berkley coached at Fredericksburg Christian School for 13 years, where he led the Eagles to five Delaney Athletic Conference (two regular, three tournament) championships. Under Berkley, the Eagles reached the state championship four times. The Eagles finished with a 21-10 record last season.

While the Foxes do have a lot of big players, the New Castle, PA native is excited about the prospect of introducing his relentless style of defense. “I think no offense works if you don’t do the right things, such as setting screens, moving without the ball, and not cutting,” Berkley said.

Soon many aspiring and current members of the Foxes basketball will attend a basketball camp at the University of Mary Washington.

Berkley, a Houghton College standout, is no stranger to fame and fortune. Although he was cut from his sixth grade basketball team, he rose to fame later to help his Union High School team go undefeated in the regular season (24-0). He is fifth on the Houghton Highlanders all-time scoring list, a member of the Lancaster County Historical Society Sports Hall of Fame, and has played professionally overseas in seven different countries.

 

Leonard Banks
Sports editor

 

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