Basketball Star Coach: Jeannette Bumagat

'Coach J' spends 70-80 hours a week coaching the AAU South Bay Scholars as well as a high school team in Mountain View—but coaching doesn't end for her off the court. 

A petite woman in black heels paces along the sideline of a basketball court, focused on the players, shouting, "Go strong!" "Move the ball!" and "Watch the corners!” 

She crouches down on the sideline as she talks to the players, making sure they're on their game. As she's watching and talking, she gets a little too close to the court, and the referee calls her out on it. The woman grins and jokingly says to the ref, "I was trying to get in." 

A Milpitas resident, Jeannette Bumagat—"Coach" to her players—is the head of the South Bay Scholars of AAU Boys and Girls Basketball, which she started four years ago with 10 players and has grown to 150 today. 

Her family of players is so big that Milpitas parent Kelly Kitzumi said, "She goes to a [high school] game and everyone knows her. She's like a celebrity."

Her prodigy and oldest daughter, Jalaena Bumagat, is a freshman at Milpitas High School and the point guard/shooting guard for the varsity girls basketball team. 

"Sometimes when I'm watching my mom coach and the way she runs things, it makes me want to consider coaching as a profession when I get older,” she said. 

Jalaena said she admires what her mom has been able to do, not only for the family, but for other people as well.

Bumagat and the 11 other coaches for the South Bay Scholars volunteer their time.

"It's exciting to work with these kids," Bumagat said. "I get to see them grow, not just as athletes, but as people too. That's how I get paid. That's how I tell people I get paid."

Aside from her position as freshman girls basketball coach at Saint Francis High School in Mountain View, Bumagat has turned down paid job opportunities, because she felt that if she took those jobs, in the back of her mind, she would worry about what would happen to her kids. 

Bumagat prides herself on stepping up all her players' athletic abilities as well as their academics. 

"I always tell people we could be called the Hardwood Ballers, or the Heat or the Renegades, but I think the name is very important. That's why I chose the Scholars, because a scholar is someone who embraces learning," Bumagat said.

"You could be a scholar and not play basketball, but academics is very important for me, and I've said if I didn't have a strong academic background and they took my scholarship, I wouldn't be where I am today," she said.

When Bumagat was a junior in high school, her knee popped out of place, and her scholarships to college were taken away.

Bumagat started playing basketball as a kid in Oceanside, by going to the park and playing pick-up games.

"I was very busy doing business, so she got involved in sports," said her mother, Van "Mamacita" Jackson, who helps with the administrative side of AAU South Bay Scholars.

In high school, Bumagat's high school basketball coaches embraced teaching her, knowing her eagerness to learn, she said.

"I had four high school coaches, who basically took care of me," she said. "They made sure I ate and made sure I got to practices, if that meant they had to pick me up from my house and drop me off."

Coaching is not only a way to keep herself in the game, but also a way to repay her own coaches, she said.

"At that time, I could have took it as just doing whatever I wanted to do, but I felt like everything happens for a reason," she said. She decided if she couldn't play basketball, she would coach it, she said. 

That's what Bumagat has been doing for that past 15½ years. 

Kelly Kitzumi, a Milpitas parent, said Bumagat is very structured and focuses not only on fundamentals of basketball, but life lessons. 

"She treats the kids like family," said Kitzumi. "(She's) someone who has a really positive influence on my son."

Bumagat said it was difficult for her to embrace the fact that the boys would want to play for a female coach when there are so many male coaches out there who can make them better athletes. 

"When I talk to them, they tell me that no one motivates them the way that I can," she said. "And I think that it's because I am a female that I have natural mother instincts is why they cling to me, and I don't mind that at all.

"My basketball goes beyond the game when it comes to these kids," she said. "My coaching is way different from other coaches, because I care about the kids as people first before I expect them to win a game."

She said her schedule is busy, from the moment she wakes up and takes her kids to school. "I'm working on rosters. I'm working on team schedules. I'm working on tournaments. And some of the kids go through problems at home, so I'll spend hours on the phone talking to them and getting their minds straight."

Some of the original kids she started with have now graduated or are about to, including one who was in trouble with the law, had bad grades, got into fights and had a very bad temper.

"I told him that if he got into any of that stuff while playing under me, he would be removed from the program," she said. "Until this day, he hasn't been in any fights and he's about to graduate, which was something that we didn't think could happen for him, so I know that the program has changed his life."

Ray Jay Peralta, 18, was that boy. He said the program has helped him both as a person and as a basketball player. 

"I had a troubled past, and Coach is more like a mentor and a coach to me," he said. "My grades use to be really bad, and she helped get me on the right track and taught me little stuff in life that I needed to know. On the court, she helped me become a more mature player—not so cocky. I grew up faster being with her."

Peralta, who has been playing basketball since the third grade, said most coaches are just coaches on the court, but Bumagat is like a mom, too.

"She takes care of us like we're her own kids," he said. 

Peralta has received a scholarship to play basketball overseas after he graduates from high school. 

"My goal in coaching you is not to teach you basketball; my goal is to teach you life lessons through basketball," Bumagat always tells her players. "And if you learn something about basketball, it's just a bonus."

My Nguyen February 24, 2011 at 10:21 PM
Thank you Alex and Donna for your comments. The kids in her program are exceptional basketball players and human beings. I'm glad Coach J and the Scholars program have had such a positive influence in your daughters' lives.
George Afuola March 07, 2011 at 09:57 PM
What a great story. I have known Coach " J " when Jaleena and my daughter Jimina played on the " Sunnyvale Wicked " 10u Fastpitch softball team and I'm glad she is finally getting recognized for all that she does not only as a Coach, but as a Mother and great friend. We are not related in blood but our families have always been close that we consider each other as one. I have Coached with Coach " J " about 2 years ago with our 12u Fastpitch Softball Team, " Sunnyvale Wicked ". She taught me alot about Coaching and the life lessons that we all can learn from it. I take all that I learned from her and apply it to my coaching lessons and it has made me a better Coach and person. I only hope one day to coach alongside Coach " J " again and show her how much I appreciate all that she has taught me. Congratulations on all your success Coach " J "!! Coach " G " (George Afuola) Sunnyvale Wicked 16u A Team Fastpitch Softball Wilcox High School J.V. Asst. Coach
My Nguyen March 07, 2011 at 11:24 PM
Hi Coach G, thank you for commenting on the story. I am so happy to hear that Coach J has had such a positive impact on you. Her daughters are talented individuals and I loved seeing the support system Coach J gets from her daughters, husband and mom. I wish nothing but the best for you in your own coaching career.
cesar renteria May 24, 2011 at 09:59 PM
coach j is an awesome coach overall . i didnt leran much when i played at my high school but with her i learned alot more
Rebecca May 24, 2011 at 10:27 PM
My name is Rebecca, and I have played for Coach J and worked with her for many years helping with camps and coaching younger teams. I was apart of the first Scholars team that she coached, and we had a quite successful season, traveling from Reno to all across California competing in tournaments. There were a lot of different personalities on this team and Coach J was able to bring us together and help us to form one team, not just individuals playing basketball. Basketball was not my strongest sport, I was always a stronger volleyball player and ended up choosing to pursue volleyball in my college career, but Coach J taught me so much not only about the game but about life and about the people you meet along the way. To say that Coach J is an amazing basketball coach is an understatement. Coach J is an amazing life coach, teaching her players not only the game, but lessons along the way, whether it is respect, punctuality, or even common manners, Coach J makes her players not only better basketball players, but better, more respectful young adults as well.
RosaMaria Barraza May 24, 2011 at 11:00 PM
I think everyone has there own opinion & is allowed to! To form you own opinion show up at her practices... & also see how all her players represent themselves at tournaments. My daughter has been playing for Coach J for over 2 years and she is amazing!!! We drive all the way from Hollister just to play for SOUTH BAY SCHOLARS......not Scholars! In all honesty i have never witnessed Coach J try to play a player that shouldnt be playing....but i have seen many other coaches bring in a player half way through a game and get away with it.....just to win!!! Coach J teaches our kids to focus on school & to always be respectfull to all! She CARES how the girls are doing not only on the court but off the court! Dont get me wrong Coach J will let you know how she feels if needed & always stickes up for her team! The bottom line is All these positive comments are what is important & truthful..........But like i said everyone has there own opinion! Comment written by RosaMaria Barraza
Julie McMullen May 24, 2011 at 11:02 PM
To jjj, first of all, you need to get your facts straight. Coach J was not let go from St. Francis -- the varsity girls coach was. Second, it sounds like you had a problem with Coach J in the past. Just because you don't like her doesn't mean everyone else doesn't! Coach J is a remarkable woman, coach, and program director and you can tell that by her enthusiasm and all the respect that she receives. The first time I ever met her, I was in awe at how all the players respected her. My children have played with her for years on the South Bay Scholars and on the Milpitas Youth Basketball Association, and my daughter was teammates with one of her daughters in another league. At all times, Coach J has been nothing short of friendly, polite, and inspiring. As a basketball league coordinator myself, I know how hard running a large program can be and Coach J has done a remarkable job. Our family has nothing but kudos and kind words for Coach J. I suggest you look inside yourself and determine why you are bad-mouthing Coach J. What are you hoping to gain? I also suggest you practice the golden rule, which is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" is another good rule to follow.
jjj May 25, 2011 at 12:44 AM
I am sorry to have to agree with jjj but some of those facts are very true. i also think that the questioning of her relationships with kids are not in question her integrity with administration, tournament directors, aau officials is. this is not a problem for kids to be commenting on because its not a popularity contest its a matter of someone who has taken advantage of other adults in the basketball world. Trust me Saint Francis wants nothing to do with her. here is a simple way to find out for yourself- look up her aau schedule and simply call any of the tournament directors of the tournaments she did not return to. she is not upgrading her schedule she is being asked not to come back. let me be clear my daughter has really nice things to say about her but i am a former local high school player from St Francis and a lot of these tournament directors i know. Here's another one call the San Jose Scholars and ask what they think about Coach. to many people out there do not have nice things to say, so is everyone wrong?
concernedparent@comcast.net May 25, 2011 at 12:49 AM
how about a follow up story addressing these points. i think it is needed especially since there are some serious things brought up. this person is attached to the city of milpitas for a league and there needs to be some clarity or i would NOT put my child in this program.
Robin Lerma May 25, 2011 at 02:08 AM
Dear Miss JJJ, First of all why do you refer to yourself as jjj, If you have something to state and are positive about it, why don't you put a name on it, be recognised. That show everybody that your a coward!!!! It's obvious that you have nothing better to do. I see it this way that since Coach J. doesn't coach with YOU anymore your trying to make her look bad which it's not working. Look at all the responses. My daughter was a nominee for freshman athlete of the year and her Bio stated that Coach J. is the person that inspires her. That says it all for me. I'm sorry that your not a part of our South Bay Scholar Organization your missing out. Coach J. goes out on a limb for all of her Players and doesn't trash talk anyone unlike jjj! Find something better to do.
Melissa May 25, 2011 at 02:36 AM
Well, jjj.....SOMEONE seems to have their facts wrong. Maybe you should verify them before making such comments. As someone who has known Coach J for 10 years and has been intimately involved with her coaching at both St. John the Baptist School, Notre Dame High School, Hardwood Ballers AAU, Scholars, South Bay Scholars, AND St. Francis High School....I believe I have a more complete picture of Coach J and her accomplishments. South Bay Scholars is a different program established by Coach J in order to provide scholar/athletes with the type of guidance that she does so well. South Bay Scholars has been formed with Coach J's mission and philosophy in mind. Coach J is still an active employee of St. Francis High School. A new Varsity coach has been hired for the 2011-2012 season, but no other members of the coaching staff have left their positions. I'm quite curious about this revolt you've mentioned....since it never happened! As for being blackballed....another interesting "fact"....I've been around the AAU circuit for years and have not heard this particular fairy tale.
Melissa May 25, 2011 at 02:42 AM
I'm not done with you yet! As for your interpretation of team rosters....perhaps you need to know more about the opponents programs. Often an AAU team is scheduled to play, yet does not have enough players to field a team. In order to not have players lose out on an opportunity to play, coaches may add additional players of varying ages to their lineup with the agreement of both coaches. Your observation of your niece playing against younger girls may just be due to the generosity of Coach J....wanting to allow the other team to still have their game experience. OR, it could have been Coach J's team that wasn't able to field a team, so the other coach kindly allowed J to add a few other players to round out the team and have the experience. It's all about learning....what can they learn if the players lose their opportunities. You have a lot of nerve to make wild allegations of Coach J's lack of integrity. I've never seen someone with more integrity as J. She has had to make very difficult decisions regarding players and her "Zero Tolerance" policy on illegal substances or grade requirements. J has had to let players go who violated her policy. Yes, it may have cost a few wins, but the greater lesson was learned by the players who were asked to leave as well as those who remained behind.
Melissa May 25, 2011 at 02:43 AM
Almost done! I have no problem with both sides of a story being printed, but at least have the decency to make sure YOUR story is accurate. You've defamed Coach J. In case you are unaware, defamation is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, or nation a negative image. Better hope she doesn't sue!
Melissa May 25, 2011 at 02:51 AM
Another no name comment? I call "B*llsh*t"! If you can't put your name out there, then your comments are invalid. I just saw an email today, inviting Coach J and her teams to yet another high level tournament. Do you have any back up to your "claims"? yeah....I didn't think so.
calmdown@yahoo.com May 25, 2011 at 03:27 AM
its pretty hard to call someone out when the person gave a couple of ways to do research, that does not sound like a person who is just being a jerk. it sounds like a person who actually is offering real information or at least a way to find the truth. and for not wanting to leave a real name thats obvious some of us who are in this community probably do not want our kids to receive any ill feelings because there parents brought up some legit concerns. its better to be open and honest about concerns then to ask later "how did this ever happen?" and as far as being invited to a tournament yeah theres a million tournaments that will take your money and put you in but the prior post was about how many of these tournaments is she invited back to.
Trojan Mom May 25, 2011 at 03:47 AM
i have been reading these comments about this coach and i have to say that it is a little scary that there are some serious questions about her character. what make me even more concerned is this person is running City of Milpitas basketball? if any of this is true she should not be in charge of running any programs. it sounds like she should be working at the program not in charge of it. it makes me really wonder who is in charge of these city programs and how much do they know about who they work with? i really think some of these things are positive since it brings to light the process of who works with our kids. it is nice to hear how some players are really close to her.
Melissa May 25, 2011 at 05:56 AM
I understand your point, but when you read things that you KNOW to be untrue based on first-hand knowledge, it is quite frustrating. There is a real negative slant to this individual's post and knowing the programs as I do, it is clearly an attempt to discredit Coach J due to this individual's PERSONAL issues. And they really didn't give any specific ways to research....just a vague mention.....no names....no contact info. Try Googling San Jose Scholars 2011 and you can't find anything....just some AAU listing from 2009.....nothing current. Funny how SOUTH BAY SCHOLARS is the first listing. :)
Melissa May 25, 2011 at 05:57 AM
I didn't see in the article where Coach J is running City of Milpitas basketball. Did I miss something? Please let me know where I should look for this. I appreciate your help.
Other hundred of people and I May 25, 2011 at 02:07 PM
Hey jjj, who ever you are, what ever you are...YOU ARE FULL OF SH...IIITT ! YOU ARE SO LOW,NASTY,YOU CREATE A HATE AND DISCONTENT !!!!YOU ARE SO WEAK AND INFERIOR!!!! Just jealous because you are a looser...If you can"t say anything good to a KIND AND NICE person then SHUT THE F... UP!!!!
Adelaide Chen May 25, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Just confirmed with the athletic director at St. Francis that Coach J was not let go (it was the varsity coach). I contacted San Jose Scholars by phone and email yesterday, and to reassure everyone, will make more calls today. When JJJ made the initial comment, I immediately contacted Coach J about it, and got her explanation. I asked her to comment on the site responding to JJJ, but that's up to her. We considered deleting the comment down, but we all hold certain rights to post (including anonymous posts). I'm willing to make more calls today to other teams. Everyone hold your fire!
Melissa May 25, 2011 at 03:56 PM
LOL...well....can't say that I disagree with the thoughts here. :)
Melissa May 25, 2011 at 03:57 PM
I appreciate your logical actions, rather than automatically believing the worst.
Norm May 25, 2011 at 04:04 PM
Perhaps we need to be a bit more "diplomatic" in our disagreement to what someone has posted? As beloved as someone may be, there will always be someone who doesn't like him/her. Everyone has their warts. The most important thing is to have the accurate facts, which, of course, will not change the people who have their opinions of Coach J.
please dont cuss at me May 25, 2011 at 04:19 PM
I googled San Jose AAU teams and found one who is very large i called them and they had much of the same things to say jjj had to say, and that was a cold call. i will not put my name since i do not want to be cursed at. thank you
Coach J Bumagat May 25, 2011 at 05:12 PM
This message will be in pieces I'm sure because of the number of characters this allows us to type: My deceased father once told me and my 2 brothers as we were growing up, “You don’t have to have money to be rich”. We, in turn, asked him what that meant. He replied, “Even though we don’t have a lot of money, we are still rich…. Rich in family, Rich in friends, Rich in love for one another, Rich in education, but most importantly we are Rich in having the ability to become the person we’re suppose to become”. Today, I believe I have become the person I am suppose to become…with no regrets. Back in February when the initial article was written about me, I was honored and still am honored that there are people who are interested in what I do that they felt like a piece of my story should be told. It was a matter of time before someone would look down on it and try to scrutinize the things that I have accomplished positively to satisfy their own lack of “being rich”. JJJ, I will address your concerns one by one. You said, “i was part of the SAN JOSE Scholars and Coach B joined us and within a year led a mutiny and left our program with players. she renames her program the scholars.” more.......
Coach J Bumagat May 25, 2011 at 05:14 PM
If you were truly a part of San Jose Scholars, you would know that I have never gone by the name, “Coach B”. Reggie Burrell (San Jose Scholars) and I met when he use to officiate games at my daughters’ school. I informed him that I coach at Notre Dame San Jose (17-4 was our record) as the head JV girls basketball coach. As him and I became more familiar with each other, he asked if I would be willing to bring that team out to represent the San Jose Scholars AAU basketball club and I said, “Absolutely.” There were NO other teams at the time besides the team I brought from ND San Jose to represent San Jose Scholars. I’m also not really sure what you mean when you say I “led a mutiny and left the program with players”. I brought 11 players into the program and 2 were removed for their own personal choices outside of our team. Before I decided to branch out into my own entity as SOUTH BAY SCHOLARS, I had a dinner meeting with Reggie and Will to discuss why I was going to branch off. I absolutely did not do this behind their back. That meeting lasted about an hour and a half. I have a lot of respect for both gentlemen but they didn’t have answers to the questions that parents and myself wanted answered. I’m not even going to address the St. Francis statement for Editor Adelaide Chen already did. I am honored and proud to be part of St. Francis. more......
Coach J Bumagat May 25, 2011 at 05:15 PM
This is completely an uneducated statement by you. If you have been on the AAU circuit like you say, you would know that in most tournaments when they don’t have enough teams to play in the specified bracket, they will combine brackets and age groups. You would know this! Example: If I have a Varsity team entered into a tournament and there are not enough teams to fill the bracket, they will combine all high school girl teams as well as high school boys teams together (9th-12th) even if it’s a JV team competing against a Varsity team just to fill the bracket. This is not something that I control. This is done by the tournament directors themselves. Out organization has been in plenty of those kinds of tournaments. We even get our butts whooped sometimes, but I always tell my student/athletes that we need those kinds of games to make them better. We basically take it as a challenge. In the 4 years that SOUTH BAY SCHOLARS has been running, NEVER EVER have I received any notice from any tournament director that any of my teams have been black balled from any tournaments. If it’s posted on a blog somewhere or on any website, this is news to me and to be honest, I’m not afraid of it at all. I believe everything happens for a reason and God will continue to guide us in the path that we are suppose to go. If you have the names of these tournament directors, I am more than willing to speak with them. But my guess is, you don’t have those names. more........
Coach J Bumagat May 25, 2011 at 05:16 PM
Your next statement reads: “my niece played on one of her teams so i showed up to a game to find her playing against girls 3 years younger than her”. I refer you to the paragraph above and make note that I have no idea who your niece is. Your final statements consist of the following: “she is also working her program in milpitas now. i think the truth is important she might have some strong connections with kids but the lack of integrity behind the scenes is really bad, good luck Milpitas sounds like its your problem now. i also read that she has a league and a camp in milpitas sounds like whoever is in charge didn't do there homework with who they hired. i think this information is important for parents to understand before they let there kids just go away to a camp or a tournament. this is a nice story but is very slanted and a large part of the story is left out and should be shared”. My response to your statements is this: I get calls on a weekly basis asking me if I could enter my teams to play in AAU tournaments AND Non-AAU tournaments keeping my integrity in tact! Reggie from SAN JOSE SCHOLARS has called me on several occasions asking me to enter my teams into HIS tournaments and even suggested that we host a tournament together! I proudly run an 8-week Youth Basketball Program for the City of Milpitas from January to March and will run basketball camps 4 weeks out of the summer. more........
Coach J Bumagat May 25, 2011 at 05:19 PM
Finally I have a brother who is a Major in the United States Marine Corp on the front lines of these continuous wars. He has been deployed from his family and his two young kids 8 times now. I pray for him every day/night for if it wasn’t for him and the soldiers who serve our country, we would not have the freedom of speech like we do. There is so many other things we should be focusing on in the world than letting people hear false information. To, JJJ, I am willing to sit down with you anytime if you have the courage to discuss these issues and figure out why you felt you had to post these false remarks. However, I welcome all comments… positive & negative. That is what makes me strong everyday. To my brother, I love you for what you have dedicated your life to do. We continue to pray for the men & women daily for your safety & will be waiting to welcome you as you come home. To my family & friends who continuously support me & my cause in what our mission statement for SOUTH BAY SCHOLARS reads: Teaching student-athletes to compete at the highest level, strive to be lifetime learners in the classroom and on the court, develop mentally and spiritually into men and women of character, be outstanding citizens, mature through character development within our team and our community. We will promote and develop the power of amateur basketball in developing the qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, and the drive for academic excellence in our Nation’s young people.
Former player October 13, 2011 at 03:52 AM
Coach J is a phenomenal person. What she taught me on the courts, I still carry with me to this day, until I leave for college soon, and until beyond that. It wasn't just new plays and new skills, it was also the motivation and wise words that shaped my character. She made sure our grades were acceptable. She pushed us to go beyond our limits and challenged us, to make us stronger. She is the mother, knowing each and every one of our names. She knows her player's weaknesses and strengths. With that, she makes her players become not only skilled basketball players but students with a morally good conscience. Even though I don't play for Scholars anymore, Coach J will always be a role model that I look up too. If only my circumstances allow me to play basketball again, I wouldn't stall a second in playing for Scholars. I stand behind Coach J 110% and I wish her the absolute best in the future.


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