Veteran basketball coach and East Palo Alto native Senque Carey has been hired as head coach of the boys' varsity basketball team at Menlo-Atherton High, principal Matthew Zito announced Monday morning.
Carey, who played basketball at St. Francis High School in the late 1990s, says he is looking forward to returning to the area with his wife, Nadia, and daughter, Indira, to lead the M-A basketball team into a new era.
"These are very exciting times for M-A Bears' basketball," Carey said. "I am excited about developing a program -- built on a strong academic foundation – that the school and community can be proud of."
Carey reportedly has taken a position at the Riekes Center for Human Enhancement in Menlo Park and will coach at M-A on a volunteer basis.
"The opportunity to coach locally will allow me more time to meet the needs of my family," Carey said on Kevin McCarthy's blog, 'Parsing the WAC.' "I am also going to have the opportunity to be the director of a strength, conditioning and development center for high school, college and pro athletes. I have great love and respect for coach Cleve (Fresno State coach Steve Cleveland) and all that he has done for me and my family."
Carey was one of the nation's top 100 recruits coming out of St. Francis High in 1998. He played collegiately for both the University of Washington and New Mexico. In 2001-02, he started 20 games for the Lobos and was considered one of the team's best point guards. However, toward the beginning of the 2002-03 season, his career came to an abrupt halt when he suffered a spinal cord injury against Northwestern State that left him temporarily paralyzed for two weeks.
Carey took on his first assistant coaching job in 2003 at the University of New Mexico. After a stop as assistant coach at Portland State, he assumed his current role as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Fresno State.
"My personal goal is to help develop student-athletes with character, discipline and integrity," Carey said. "I look forward to encouraging success on the floor and in the classroom, and I look forward to continuing the M-A Bears' tradition and win championships."
Zito said that Carey is known for his strength in developing players of all skills levels on the path to reaching their greatest potential.
"I'm trying to stay involved in the game," Carey told the Fresno Bee. "It'll be challenging because I've been working with really good athletes and players, and I'll have to go into a situation at Menlo-Atherton and build support on the floor [and an academic support system to where kids can stay eligible.
"Ideally," he added, "in four to five years I'd like to be back in college coaching."
At Fresno State, Carey helped craft the academic revitalization that produced the largest Academic Progress Rate (APR) improvement in the country, the program's first Academic All-District honoree and the graduation of ten men's basketball student-athletes from December 2007 to May 2009, which marks the most in a similar span in program history.
Carey, who has a bachelors' degree in communications and university studies from the University of New Mexico, was named earlier this year by Basketball Times magazine as one of the nation's top assistant coaches. He has been involved in developing professional basketball talent, including Paul George, this year's No. 10 overall NBA draft pick by the Indiana Pacers.
Preseason practices with Carey at the helm will start on Nov. 1 in Menlo-Atherton's newly renovated Ayers Gym.