Perry Webster, head coach for the Fullerton College men’s basketball team, doesn’t have time to breathe.
From dethroning Saddleback’s six-year reign as the Orange Empire Conference champions to winning the OEC’s coach of the year award, Webster prefers not to dwell on his accolades and instead focus on the present.
“My attitude is maybe I should appreciate success more sometimes, but I’m kind of a forward thinker. I like success and I want to keep having it,” Perry said.
Clearly, thinking forward has paid off for him.
In his two-years as head coach, Webster transformed a (4-23 overall) record team in 2014 into a now (23-6 overall) team on the brink of a deep playoff run, and possibly a state championship all by the age of 28.
However, Webster’s love for basketball began as a player.
He played basketball for Mission Viejo High School where he led his team to a CIF championship and was voted All-CIF and All-League, leading to the retirement of his jersey number at the school.
Webster then played for Saddleback College where he lead his team to the State Championship, earning himself State Tournament MVP.
He continued his career playing for the Cal-State Fullerton Titans as team captain, leading the Big West in assists and earning the Titan Hustle Award awarded by the booster club.
He retired as a player to serve as assistant coach to head coach Andy Ground at Saddleback College, where he helped lead the school to numerous conference championships and a 2015 state championship.
Webster had a passion for playing, but coaching has always been his dream.
“I had good skills and good understanding of the game, but I knew that playing could only take me so far. I always thought i could go further as a coach,” Webster said. “I love the game, I love the ups and downs and the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. It’s always been intriguing for me.”
Coaching is a wildly different monster than playing, but Webster enjoys the challenge that comes with the position.
“As a coach, you’re spending countless hours watching film and trying to develop a plan for your team. That’s the biggest passion of mine: being able to develop a plan and being able to get our guys execute that plan the way we prepare as a staff,” he said.
Webster translated his deep knowledge as a player and experience under his mentor Andy Ground to his coaching job here at Fullerton, proving his youth was just a number, not a negative factor. On the contrary, Webster feels his youth benefits him as a coach.
“My youth is a factor here because I’m able to understand exactly what the players are going through… I have a good feel for when their bodies are tired and when they need a mental day to just rest. I have a good feel for that,” Webster said.
Because Webster understands his players more than most, he also understands the necessity of pushing his players to their brink. Potential in players, he says, often needs a second person to realize.
“I’m hard on my guys. I push them past their limits because sometimes it takes someone to see something in you that you don’t know you have inside of you,” Webster said.
It’s a life lesson he learned from his father, who serves as one of Webster’s biggest inspirations, in and out of basketball.
Webster’s father coached him, but he never softened and gave Webster special attention as most coaches do with their sons. Rather, he pushed him harder than any other player.
“It was never about me as the individual, and usually when your dad is the coach it’s about you as the individual but my dad never made it that way. He was hardest on me and I’m thankful I got that experience from him,” Webster said.
After a life of accolades and success, Webster still prefers to tackle what lays in front of him now, rather than getting caught in the past, even if the past was just a week ago. Right now, Webster coaches the Fullerton Hornets, his favorite team, and he sees no reason to think about anything else.
“As a young coach you have to always evaluate your position and where you are, but right now I’m not looking anywhere else. I’m having fun and enjoying myself and my family is enjoying themselves. We’re happy to be here” Webster said.