Newly hired PCS basketball coach Sherer balances coaching and National Guard dutiesBy CAMAL PETRO,
Former Presbyterian Christian basketball coach Josh Dorman was in an unusual position after announcing he was stepping away from his positions as coach and athletics director. Along with Dr. Allen Smithers, PCS’ Headmaster, Dorman got to help pick his successor.
The two came to the decision together, and it was announced on Thursday Josh Sherer would take over the boys program. Sherer, who has spent the last two years as the boys and girls’ basketball coach at Lamar School, and his family were introduced Friday morning at the school.
“The time we spent here and the investment, I was very grateful that Dr. Smithers allowed me to be a part of the process,” Dorman said. “For us, it was critical that we understood what was at stake and where this program can go under the right leadership.”
When most coaches are coming into a new job, there’s usually a rebuilding taking place. That’s not the case for the Bobcats. Coming off a regular season conference title, Dorman left PCS in a good spot for continued success. It’s an unfamiliar position for Sherer because, at his prior stops, there’s usually a rebuilding factor.
“I felt like the Lord has always kind of put me in rebuild situations one way or another,” Sherer said. “This will be new for me, honestly.”
Sherer will lean on Dorman a lot to help get the Bobcats in position for another successful season. The new PCS coach doesn’t want to come in and change everything. He’s already had plenty of conversations about what Dorman envisioned for next season, too.
“Although I’ll put my twist on it, I think it’ll be very similar in style,” Sherer said.
Sherer and his wife, Leah, are originally from just south of Jackson and graduated from Hillcrest Academy. Sherer played baseball at Hinds Community College before moving on to play basketball at Wesley College, which is now defunct, in Florence. He became the head basketball coach at Wesley when he was 25 years old, and he earned wins over Mississippi College, Millsaps College, Belhaven University and Mississippi Valley State University.
Wesley was 1-31 the year before Sherer took over the job, and the team went 18-16 in his first season.
“I was young, dumb and cheap,” Sherer joked about taking the Wesley job at 25 years old. “That’s the truth. All I knew how to do was motivate kids and love on them. It was nothing short of just the Lord blessing that time (for me).”
After spending five years there, he moved on to Central Hinds for six years, where he had three straight 20-win seasons, before his two years at Lamar School. His Lady Raiders team won the Overall State Championship this season, too. He had every intention of staying in Meridian for a long time, but when Dorman and PCS called, he had to listen.
“Our heart is not to keep jumping (to other jobs),” Sherer said. “We thought we’d be at Lamar forever, but things change. When a school like PCS calls, you have to listen. We never pursued anybody and we were never out looking for anything. In fact, Josh called me the Monday after we won Overall on Saturday, and it was just something you always want to listen to.”
Sherer thought it was “impressive” that Dorman was helping lead the charge to find a new coach to take over his program, and it was easy to see why Dorman and Smithers had such a good relationship. They complemented each other, Sherer added.
Dorman loves his players and the school, and he just wanted to see the program get put in the right hands. That passion was a major attraction for Sherer when he went through the interview process.
“We had several great candidates and talked to several great people,” Dorman said. “What stuck out in the end was No. 1, the experience. He’s been at it at multiple levels and he’s won everywhere he’s been. For us, we’re a little bit different with the investment spiritually. His investment there will be amazing.”
Another wrinkle to Sherer accepting the Bobcats job is he won’t be coaching both the boys and girls’ teams like he did at Lamar School. He’s very much looking forward to not juggling time for both squads, but he’ll miss coaching his daughters, Isabella and Addyson.
He’s very comfortable with leaving them in the hands of Lady Bobcats’ coach Matthew Lofton, though.
“That was part of the selling point. It was him,” Sherer said of Lofton. “If I was going to relinquish my kids to anybody, he is the guy you would want that done with.”
To top it all off, Sherer is a member of the Mississippi National Guard as a chaplain. Just like it’s advertised, he reports for one weekend a month and two weeks out of the year. In fact, he was supposed to be at Camp Shelby during the same time as Friday’s press conference, but he was released.
In 2015, during one of his six years at Central Hinds, he was deployed to Washington D.C. for a year and missed a season of coaching.
“It’s a part of life that we knew would be difficult because of it, but we strap it on as a badge of honor,” Sherer said. “We were glad PCS was willing to own that, too. Institutionally, (PCS) said ‘we are proud to support, and not just support, we’re going to let him go.’ My first conversation I told them, ‘I’m going to be gone.’
“We walk it proudly.”
His next scheduled deployment is set for March 2020, immediately after next season, and he’ll miss the entire 2020-21 season as a result. However, he’s still capable of studying game film and giving his team notes on a daily basis.
If the Bobcats make a deep run next season, there is a chance the season could go past his scheduled deployment, too.
“Oh, you’re not going to pull me away,” Sherer said.
The communications are great on both sides, Sherer added, so both the National Guard and PCS are willing to work things out.
Josh and Leah have two more children, Juliette and Grayson.