Licher protects campus, serves as coach

COMMUNITY COACH Wes Licher sits at front desk, where he provides assistance to students
COMMUNITY COACH Wes Licher sits at front desk, where he provides assistance to students
Bren Belmonte

   To Gabrielino High School, Wes Licher represents the best parts of the community. To some, he is the basketball coach who exemplifies the team’s cohesion, and to others, he is the friendly security guard signaling traffic and letting students walk across safely in the morning- but to everyone, Licher is a role model determined to help those around him. 

   After attending schools within the San Gabriel Unified School District (SGUSD) such as Roosevelt Elementary School in fifth grade and Gabrielino when the campus was still Jefferson Middle School, Licher later went to Mount San Antonio College and joined the military for over a decade. Yet he always felt a connection to SGUSD, coming back to the district after volunteering to coach boys junior varsity basketball as an assistant coach for two years when he returned from the military.

   “Coaching isn’t necessarily just about basketball for me,” explained Licher. “I use it as a mentorship for some of the boys, and I even have kids who graduated years ago still come back and talk to me. Sometimes coaching is beyond basketball because of how I can be a role model for the kids in life.” 

   Licher’s volunteer work would help cement his qualifications as a coach, as he was offered the opportunity to permanently coach the freshman boys basketball team back in 2014. For the past eight years, he has been guiding students to victory on the court but also in life acting as a mentor. 

   “That’s the best thing about the coaching for me, getting them to be respectable young men,” Licher stated with a smile. “There’s all different kinds of cultures and identities on one team, so it’s important everyone can work with all of the aspects of being in a diverse team.” 

   The role model approach he takes to coaching is seen outside of sports as well, with many students familiar with his roles as campus supervisor and security guard over the last two school years. While ensuring the safety of students can entail reprimanding them and breaking up fights, Licher seeks to be approachable for all students to speak with and confide in as a trusted adult. 

   “I like to be easy to talk to, because being approachable lets me wear my heart on my sleeve,” Licher affirmed. “Everyone has different circumstances so I always want to take their situation into account when speaking to them.”

   Licher’s strong bond with Randell McNair helped him take up the job, as he worked closely alongside McNair before his passing. Now more than ever, he has worked hard to maintain the welcoming environment the two created in the previous year. Whether it is helping students grow as individuals on the basketball court or being approachable and kind to everyone on campus, Licher wants to do it all. 

   “I was actually interviewed by Mr. Genisauski when I was wearing my tank top and shorts because I was at the gym at the time,” remarked Licher with a hearty laugh. “I started working a few days after that interview last year, and I really value the relationships I’ve made with students and staff alike. I always want to make sure that the campus is a place everyone can feel safe at.” 


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