T.J. Jennings, 32, of Hanford, Calif., will lead the Foothill Women’s Basketball Program for the 2013–2014 season, according to Foothill Kinesiology & Athletics Division Dean/Athletics Director Susan Gutkind. Last year, the Owls finished the regular season with a 25–5 season and were undefeated in North Coast Conference play.
Jennings, who began the one-year temporary coaching assignment at Foothill Sept. 27, has served as head coach of the Porterville College Men's Basketball Program in Tulare County since 2009. In addition to coaching duties, Jennings will teach Foothill physical education and kinesiology courses at the campus in Los Altos Hills.
“We’re thrilled to have added Coach Jennings to our coaching staff. He has hit the ground running and already impressed us with his immediate contributions to the women’s program,” Gutkind said. “Our team is building its momentum in anticipation of its first game at the Merced Tournament Nov. 21–23. I’m excited that this season our players will experience Jennings’ strong commitment and ability to help them stay motivated in their classes and on the court.”
Items at the top of Jennings’ agenda for the Owls this season include completing the season with a team grade-point average of 3.25 or higher and competing for a conference title.
“This is an exciting assignment for me!” Jennings said. “Foothill College has an outstanding reputation for its great student-athletes, and we’re looking forward to excelling in the classroom and on the court, and giving back to our community.”
Jennings replaces Jody Craig. Craig, who has taken a one-year leave of absence from Foothill, was named assistant coach at Concordia University in Irvine, Calif., in August.
In 2012, Jennings was voted Central Valley Conference (CVC) Coach of the Year. Under his leadership throughout the 2011–2012 season, Porterville College’s Pirates had their first winning season in more than a decade. Overall, the Pirates scored 14–13 and 7–5 in CVC play. The squad’s second-place finish was also Porterville’s best showing since 2001.
Prior to his service at Porterville, Jennings was the head assistant coach for the Reedley College women's basketball team from 2007–2009. During the 2008–2009 season, he was named interim head coach for the second half of league play while head coach Dan Kilbert was on personal leave. Reedley posted a 4–1 record during his time as interim coach. Jennings also shared Coach of the Year honors with Brian Tessler from Fresno City College. Jennings began his coaching career in 2004 at Fresno Pacific University as the lead assistant for the women’s basketball team.
“College athletics are an exceptional way for students to develop academically and athletically while preparing themselves to transfer to a four-year university,” he said. “And women’s athletics demonstrate to our community that men’s and women’s sports are important and that Foothill College embraces diversity, teamwork and equality.”
He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and communication, as well as master’s degree in kinesiology from Fresno Pacific University (FPU). In addition to playing basketball for four years at FPU, he was named an academic all-American three times and Sunbird of the Year in 2004.
An Oakland native, Jennings’ father, Richard “Rick” Terrell Jennings II, was a return specialist for the Oakland Raiders (1976–1979) and won the Super Bowl in 1976.