Through the years, the players who trained in the Hoop Dreams gyms were taught by some of the best teachers of the game in Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts. The hours were long and through the clinics, camps, small groups and individual workouts the players developed a love for the game.
The workout requests and clinics all grew at a rapid rate as word began to spread of the Hoop Dreams programs. To accommodate the growing numbers of players in the gym, Chris assembled a team of trainers and added a second gym location in Riverside, RI. As we look back on those years in the gyms, our team is grateful to those who stood side by side with Chris teaching the game and making a positive impact in the lives of so many players from Rhode Island, Massachusetts and across the United States.
Meet the Hoop Dreams with Chris Herren team of trainers over the past nine years and read their reflections on their time in the gym.
Jameson Guimond was a Durfee High teammate of Chris’s and now serves as the Durfee High School head coach. For three years Jameson shared his knowledge of the game with players through workouts, camps and clinics. Coaching basketball now for 10 years, Jameson remembers the high intensity of the workouts the most as he looks back.
“Great student athletes that worked hard on their game in a great workout program. The high intensity of the workouts was always fun to be a part of.”
Bob Eagan, a personal trainer and member of the Hoop Dreams training team for two years, was instrumental in developing conditioning and training programs for the players. He later went on to help Chris and Heather start the Herren Project and work with those seeking navigation for substance use disorder. What he remembers most from his time in the gym?
“Boot camp workouts outside Pennfield gym. Pushing athletes to their maximum ability while having fun at the same time. Teaching the URI men’s basketball team boxing workouts…the laughter and enjoyment that came with it. Also, connecting with young men and women on a spiritual and emotional level during these training sessions.”
John “Kav” Kavanagh has been coaching basketball for 16 years at the high school level and ran the Riverside, RI gym for three years. Helping to establish a full weight room in the basement of St. Brendan’s, Kav not only focused on fundamental skills, but also utilized the weight room and conditioning to develop the total player. The commitment and work ethic are two of the traits that Kav mentioned standing out most as he looked back.
“I think the thing I remember most is the commitment and hard work that the kids put in. Whether it was an individual, small group or clinic, kids came prepared to work and we definitely saw improvements in their game. Having spent most of my time at St. Brendan’s, we had a terrific group of players at different levels of their career and they always came prepared to give it their all. Whether in the gym working on skills, in the weight room or the conditioning at the end of a workout. As a HS coach, I was able to workout a lot of kids that I coached against during the regular HS season and it was fun to get to know them off the court and see them grow.”
Frank Brow, a personal trainer and basketball coach for now twenty-five years, was one of the first coaches Chris reached out to when expanding the Hoop Dreams programs. Based at the Pennfield School in Portsmouth, RI, Frank not only ran workouts and clinics over the eight years, but was there Sunday mornings for pick-up games and served as a camp director. Frank’s basketball knowledge and drive to help the players be their best on and off the court was a true asset to our team. What he remembers most from his time in the gym?
“The things I remember most are the intensity of the scrimmages, how all the drills were run at game speed and that all the players were treated equally no matter of their skill level.”
Brian Doyle joined the Hoop Dreams team after reaching out through an e-mail and volunteering to help with a player development clinic for one week in the summer of 2011. Chris quickly noticed the enthusiasm, dedication and expertise that Brian brought to his training sessions each and every time he stepped on the floor. Now seven years later, Brian has served as the lead trainer, camp director and worked out players from the middle school to collegiate level including some professional players in their off seasons. He continues to provide basketball training with the dedication he exhibited that first day in 2011. A true student of the game, Brian remembers most the kids and parents that have passed through the gym doors over the years.
“I remember the mentorship and guidance of Chris every step of the way. The kids and the parents are what I’ll remember the most… The relationships, the trust and commitment from every kid and parent. It’s been a blast!”
Looking back at the past ten years, Chris shared his thoughts on the hours he spent in the gym with a team of dedicated trainers all working together for the love of the game. “The training team was an important part of the Hoop Dreams culture. They were coaches who believed in my vision to create a safe place to explore the sport of basketball and find success in hard work, sweat and skill development., said Chris. “They all are an important part of my journey and I am grateful.”
As we look to 2019 and celebrating 10 years of impacting lives on and off the basketball court, we are grateful for Chris’s willingness to share and the resolve to use his life experience to reach JUST ONE and make a difference.