Men’s basketball head coach makes history for California Community College Association


Jonathan Wong

Head coach Jonathan James at the first playoff game of the 2023 men’s basketball season. He has been nominated and accepted the position of president of the California Community College Men’s Basketball Coach Association, which makes him the first African American president in the association’s history.

The men’s basketball head coach was elected the first African American president of the California Community College Men’s Basketball Coaches Association.

Head coach Jonathan James, who will begin this role on March 13, was once a student-athlete at Cosumnes River College. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach alongside former men’s basketball head coach James Giacomazzi.

James would later become the head coach, a representative for the head coaches of the Big 8 conference, the vice president of the CCCMBCA and now the association’s president.

“Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges. Don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable,” James said. “Because when you’re uncomfortable, that means you are growing. It means you are expanding and that’s what life is about, constantly getting better, gaining new knowledge and inside perspective.”

Assistant Athletic Director Jeanne Calamar was made aware of James’s possibility of being the first African American president of the CCCMBCA by Giacomazzi and conducted research to confirm it.

Calamar eventually was able to confirm that the association, which has been around since 1957, will officially have their first African American president.

“I just think it’s pretty amazing that he’s the first African American and I applaud him for stepping up and taking on this role,” Calamar said.

James acknowledged the responsibility he took when taking the position and said that he hoped it would inspire “kids from the minority community.”

“When they see an individual that is from where they are from, looks like and talks like them and you have this role helping others that isn’t just about me, that means something,” James said. “Hopefully, they can strive to do something similar as they advance their basketball careers and just their overall careers in the job field.”

Athletic Director Collin Pregliasco and Calamar both said that James’s thoughtfulness, leadership and willingness to do anything to better help his players and students made him the right person for the job.

Pregliasco shared his confidence in James to help student-athletes at California community colleges with GPA scheduling issues and any other situations that arise on and off the basketball court.

“It’d be great to see what he accomplishes and I’m his biggest fan and obviously his biggest supporter and I’ll help him any way I can,” Pregliasco said.