Successful Las Positas College men’s basketball coach James Giacomazzi entered the 2020-21 school year with another title to his name – athletic director.
Giacomazzi's promotion became official last month, to the delight of his fellow Hawks coaches.
“He has experience at this level as a faculty member, a head coach and an associate athletic director,” said Andy Cumbo, men’s and women’s soccer coach. “It was a great decision by the administration to hire James for that position.”
An active family man, Giacomazzi resides in Livermore with his wife, Kristi, and their daughters Addison and Devyn, both accomplished acrobatic gymnasts and ardent Hawks basketball fans.
He treats his fellow coaches like family as well, saying he’ll help them “in any way he can to give them every opportunity to be competitive for championships.”
Giacomazzi, a towering figure on the court, stands at 6-foot-8 with an energetic coaching style and seems well-suited to serve as both administrator and head coach. He has been the acting athletic director since Dean/AD Dr. Amir Law took time away to care for his family in January. In five seasons as head coach, Giacomazzi compiled a sterling 100-45 overall record, earning five playoff berths.
Looking at the big picture, Giacomazzi, a member of the Facilities Committee at Las Positas, wants to expand on what the college already has.
“I was working on two major projects: No. 1 was the new turf soccer field right here outside the gym which is beautiful,” he said. “I was also the lead and point person on upgrading our team rooms, so all of our team rooms just got redone: brand new lockers, name plates, the whole deal. They’re really nice.”
With a winning track record over 16 years as a head coach in community college, he celebrated career victory No. 300 against Chabot College last season, when the Hawks finished 20-9 overall and placed second in the Coast Conference-North. He’s sent 20 Hawks players to four-year programs.
Previously, during an 11-year run as head coach at Cosumnes River-Sacramento, he was twice selected as Big 8 Conference Coach of the Year. He was also an assistant for six seasons at San Jose City under head coach Percy Carr, the state’s all-time winningest California community college head coach.
Giacomazzi also thrived as a player at Washington High (Fremont), San Jose City and UC Riverside. He helped Washington to a runner-up state finish and a NorCal title in 1991 and helped San Jose City amass a two-year mark of 57-12 as a small forward. During a glorious time for Washington basketball, Giacomazzi and the Huskies faced future 10-time NBA All-Star and NBA coach Jason Kidd of St. Joseph High in the Bishop O’Dowd summer leagues. The Huskies also beat future USF star Gerald Walker and Hayward High in the big Anderson Tournament. In Giacomazzi's junior year, they upended a great Northgate team coached by Frank Allocco.
Giacomazzi cites former Washington basketball coach Guin Boggs and Carr as mentors.
Of Carr, he said, “I wanted to be a community college coach, so he let me have the opportunity to do a lot of it and learn how to run a program, how to deal with people, how to be a great motivator, how to get the best out of student-athletes.”
Giacomazzi further noted that Boggs was a great motivator.
“(He has) great passion for the game of basketball,” Giacomazzi said. “Terrific person. He just instilled hard work, discipline, fundamentals. Teamwork. That was big.”
Giacomazzi is a big believer in community outreach. His team and the athletic department is involved in The Market, a free food distribution program in which college volunteers bag and hand out food (with modifications during the COVID-19 pandemic) once a month.
Additionally, Giacomazzi’s players made an appearance at Lawrence Elementary School in Livermore last year when his daughters attended the school.
“It was a full school assembly,” Giacomazzi said proudly. “We had all the kids interact, getting them active, getting them all excited. It was an opportunity for them to see and meet our student athletes … The players did a little dunk contest and a little competition stuff, and then we included the kids in those competitions, which was a lot of fun.”