New head coach Jeff Jonas, who teaches zoology and earth sciences at the school and is the head coach of the girls varsity basketball team, has made a smooth transition into the role after taking over for Michele Moore, and he has the confidence of both his players and the school's administration.
When asked what it's like to replace a coach as successful as Michele Moore, Freedom athletic director Steve Amaro replied, "It's not easy. Ultimately, changes are bound to occur at some point, and replacing coach Moore, who did an excellent job, was tough. But we have a real good one in coach Jonas. I think it's reassuring to have somebody who's been in the system and knows how it operates and who is on campus, knows the girls and has head coaching experience."
Jonas served as an assistant coach to the varsity team for three years under Moore, and says that he's continued to run practice the same way that he always has, adding that the talent level of the girls on his team makes it a lot easier to focus on situational drills in practice rather than spend the time working on basic skills.
The new head coach says that when he was initially asked by Amaro if he'd like to apply for the position, he needed to think it over, but that "I didn't have to think about it for very long."
He inherits a talented group of girls, most of whom have varsity experience, and all of whom are hungry to avenge last year's playoff loss to California High School and prove that they're every bit as good as their reputation suggests.
"The girls have a chip on their shoulder because of the playoff loss to Cal last year," said Jonas. "They came out more focused and determined to prove that they're the team to beat and that they let that one (the game against Cal) get away. They'd have that chip on their shoulder no matter who was coaching - good teams motivate themselves and good players know what they have to do to get it done."
The scary part of his players' 6-0 start: Jonas feels they've yet to hit stride at the plate, execute and move runners along. According to the coach, the team is performing well in practice, but hasn't carried that strong practice into game situations so far this season. Still, the team has outscored its opponents by a whopping 29-2 margin.
"To a player, their goal is to win every game, to win NCS, and to be the best team," said Jonas. "But they're not going to overlook that it's hard work that gets you there. When you're a good team, you have a target on your back, and we kind of relish that."
The Falcons will compete in the Livermore Stampede tournament next weekend, then return to Bay Valley Athletic League competition April 1 when they host Liberty at 3:45 p.m.