Why this former Fresno State basketball standout couldn’t say no to Washington Union

Why did Wil Hooker decide to get back into high school boys basketball coaching at Washington Union?

The former Fresno State standout is no stranger to high-profile seats after leading San Joaquin Memorial (2002-05) and Clovis (2016-17).

Friday on the Washington Union campus in Easton, he might’ve revealed a reason for taking over the Panthers’ job, ticking off the names of past Washington Union star players and coaches who helped produce four state championships (1985, ‘88, ‘96 and ‘99).

“Coach John Pestorich, Marc Jones, Jervis Cole, Tony Harris, Al Biancalana, Vonn Webb, Demetrius Porter, Chris Jefferies, DeShawn Stevenson,” he said.

Hooker is hoping to continue the success replacing Tony Petersen, who retired this year after a 14-year run including three Central Section championships.

“Would like to get back to some of their winning ways,” Hooker said. “I was around when they were winning state championships.”

That he was, playing four seasons at Fresno State (1988-92) and ranking as the Bulldogs’ No. 3 career scoring leader. His coaching resume includes time assisting Jerry Tarkanian at Fresno State plus stints as an assistant at Cal Poly and Fresno Pacific.

Hooker’s overall high school record is 103-82 including three leagues title and one section title at Memorial, according to section historian Bob Barnett.

Washington last won a section title in 2014 under Petersen, who closes out his career at 393-302 including a stop at Buchanan from 1993-2002.

“Coach Hooker brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our program,” Washington athletic director Jeff Freitas said.

Hooker spent the past two seasons as an assistant at San Joaquin Memorial, helping the Panthers to back-to-back section titles.

He said it was a good experience for him and is looking forward to opening a new chapter at Washington.

He described himself as “a guy who is going to give 110 percent to this program, school and community. I really have a deep love for young people and helping develop young people. That’s my goal here. With everyone we come in touch with, we want them to have a good experience in our program, and at the same time, help them grow and develop them into great people.”

Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. He covers the Oakland Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA and junior colleges. He’s been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.