Jermaine Byrd leaves La Salle, pursues other coaching options

MANILA, Philippines – Jermaine Byrd, who served as consultant and acting head coach for the La Salle Green Archers last UAAP season, will no longer remain part of the men's basketball coaching staff, he confirmed to Rappler on Wednesday, February 12. 

When La Salle announced Derrick Pumaren would take over the varsity team’s head coaching position in January, Byrd got retained in the coaching staff but was given a new role as a skills coach. 

Gian Nazario, last year's head coach, had also been demoted to assistant. (READ: A reunion with Derrick Pumaren might be what La Salle needs

Byrd, however, has decided to move on.

“I love the school and I love the DLSU community, but the role was never a good fit for myself personally,” he said in an exclusive interview.

Byrd added: “I have over 12 years of skill training and development. For my career I want to continue to coach, not just be a skills coach. So I have decided to pursue coaching opportunities elsewhere.”

The African-American mentor confirmed there are no concrete plans where he will land next, but admitted he would “love to stay in the Philippines.” 

Byrd, who has experience working in the NBA D-League and other basketball leagues in Asia, plans to return to the United States in the immediate future to “figure out the next move” of his coaching career.

In his lone season with the Green Archers, Byrd steered DLSU to a 7-7 record, but the team still missed the Final Four. 

“I love those players, every last one of them,” he said of last season's roster, which included the likes of Aljun Melecio, Andrei Caracut, and Justine Baltazar.  “I’m thankful that they all allowed me to coach them and help them get better in Season 82 (2019).”

“I’ll miss the players, the kitchen staff, the community, and I’ll miss the staff at the school,” Byrd said about his time in Taft, before later adding: “I love basketball so I’ll miss all the basketball and talented players in the Philippines.”

The new-look Green Archers under Pumaren will compete in the upcoming PBA D-League conference.

Just last week, La Salle won a tune-up game against Manila of the MPBL, 95-92, thanks to a game-winning three-ball by Aljun Melecio, who scored 24 points.