June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Tustin’s Claire Gocke selected women’s basketball coach at Irvine Valley College

Claire Gocke is the new women’s basketball coach at IVC. (Photo courtesy IVC Sports Information).

Claire Gocke, who led the Tustin High School girls basketball team to four Empire League titles and numerous CIF playoff appearances, has been named the new women’s basketball coach at Irvine Valley College, officials announced Friday.

Gocke takes over for Jason Garey, who led the program for the last two seasons.

Garey is back on the men’s side as co-head coach and the coordinator of basketball at IVC.

“I am excited for the new opportunity to continue to grow the program with what Julie Hanks and Jason Garey have done over the years,” Gocke said in a release from IVC. “Julie has been a legend here for 25 years and Jason has done a great job for the past two seasons.”

Gocke knows the area well, having been a successful head coach at Tustin for the last 12 years. She will continue to teach physical education at Tustin.

She helped turn the Tustin program around, reaching the 200-win mark this past season when the Tillers went 15-13 overall.

“It was great coaching there,” Gocke said. “I came in as a 23 year-old and they hadn’t won very many games the year before. I was determined to rebuild the program.”

In 12 seasons, Gocke had an overall record of 211-124, won four Empire League titles (2015, 2017, 2020, 2021), made numerous CIF playoff appearances and was named the Empire League coach of the year twice.

Her 2021 team went through Empire League play undefeated.

Gocke has been the head coach of the North for the Orange County North-South All-Star Game and was the recipient of the 2022 CIF Southern Section Jim Staunton Champion for Character Award for exemplifying the finest in sportsmanship, character, integrity, and athletics.

“And now Irvine Valley is a new opportunity,” Gocke said. “I am really excited to be here. I am looking forward to the recruiting process and using what I have learned in the high school community for the last 12 years.”

Gocke prides herself on being a passionate coach with drive and grit. She also understands the importance of team building and character development beyond the classroom and the court.

“It is about creating a culture and developing a family dynamic,” she said. “I want to support our players and make sure they realize that we are all teammates and that they have a place to call home.”

Irvine Valley’s women’s team starts its season on Friday, Nov. 1 at home against a tough Palomar program at 7 p.m.

The Lasers will begin Orange Empire Conference play on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at home against Santa Ana at 5 p.m.

“I can’t wait,” Gocke said. “I want to keep building on what Julie and Jason have done. I am looking forward to getting in the gym and utilizing the resources here at IVC.”

—Courtesy IVC sports information