Prep boys basketball: Lely posts head coaching job; interim coach Jacques hoping to get it

Roger LaLonde/Staff
Lely interim coach Fritz Jacques makes a point during a time out in the Trojans win over Estero in the Class A-District 12 playoffs in February. Lely won the district title and played for the Region 5 title before being defeated. Fritz has applied for the coaching position, relinquished by Ryan Bowen in January.

Photo by ROGER LALONDE // Buy this photo

Roger LaLonde/Staff Lely interim coach Fritz Jacques makes a point during a time out in the Trojans win over Estero in the Class A-District 12 playoffs in February. Lely won the district title and played for the Region 5 title before being defeated. Fritz has applied for the coaching position, relinquished by Ryan Bowen in January.

Lely High School interim basketball coach Fritz Jacques took the team on a 10-3 run at the end of the season, winning a district championship and making the Class 5A regional championship game before the ride ended.

Now it is up to the school and a committee to determine whether he gets to continue.

Jacques took over when coach Ryan Bowen resigned in early January with no reason given to the media by the coach or Lely administrators.

Lely athletic director Matt Kuk said the basketball position has been posted on the school district website and will remain there until March 15.

“We hope to have a head coach named in April,” he said.

Jacques, 27, has put his application in for the coaching position and will have an interview.

“It will be with Mr. Kuk and a committee of people,” said Jacques, who played football at Kent State after starring at Lely. “I don’t know who will be on the committee.

“Being the basketball coach obviously would be a great job. I’ve watched Manatee and Marco Island Charter (middle schools) and they have talented kids coming up. With the talent we have (on the high school teams) it is a great job.”

When Bowen resigned, the team was 10-8, and Jacques, the junior varsity coach, stepped in. The team had a similar record in 2012, before Bowen took the team to the district championship then lost in the first regional game.

Senior Nick Ronquette and junior Nick Talko helped the team reach the regional championship game this season, as the 2009 team did.

Both spoke highly of Bowen and Jacques.

“I played for Bowen for three years and I learned a lot from him,” Ronquette said. “He helped develop my game.”

“He (Bowen) taught me a lot,” Talko said. “He was like a father figure to me.”

Both said that after a slow start they went beyond anyone’s expectations, except theirs.

“We knew we could come back. We just had to get in the right mind set,” Ronquette said. “We played up tempo (under Jacques). We ran the whole game, and in the fourth quarter we were still fresh.”

Talko said, “He (Jacques) was good for the team. He is a good guy.”

Jacques thought the players did a great job with the transition.

“They started believing in me and in each other, that they could be successful,” he said. “Ronquette was a leader, he stepped up on the defensive side and offense as well. Talko is a marksman, a real good offensive player. He goes after it on defense, too.”

Jacques is working on a highlight film for Ronquette to see if he can get to play basketball in college.

Other than Ronquette, Talko and L.J. Greenidge, Jacques has coached the players on JV teams and summer basketball programs.

“Our goal was to win the district and get to the final four, something that hadn’t been done since 1994,” Jacques said. “In the regional championship they (American Heritage) had height and in the end they got us.”

Jacques said he was proud of how the team battled, saying that Karbiel Dirogene and Cleafford Millien had outstanding games. Both are juniors and will be back.

If Jacques is not picked as the head coach, he wants to continue to be involved in Lely athletics where he also is defensive backs coach on the football team.

“I want to be part of the program wherever Lely wants me to be,” he said. “I want to be part of the Lely community as it has been for me.”

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