Charles Legan enjoyed his time so much at East Union that he jumped at the opportunity to return as its boys basketball head coach.
Athletic Director J.J. Ramirez hired the Oakdale resident and Bay Area native to spearhead the Lancers' rebuilding project. He replaces James Ward, who stepped down after two seasons. The team lost 12 seniors to graduation but returns freshman guard Dylan Lee.
“I like his demeanor and the way he talks to people,” Ramirez said of Legan. “There are times when the intensity comes out, but he knows how to talk to kids. He has coached at different levels and has a great knowledge of the game.
“Just seeing where Oakdale was to what it became the last few years, he had a lot of influence on what was going on over there. He helped make them very respectable.”
Legan previously spent seven years at East Union, coaching the lower levels before joining Brett Lewis' varsity staff as associate head coach in 2010-11. Together, they led the Lancers to three straight Sac-Joaquin Section postseason appearances.
East Union has not made the playoffs since 2013. Legan left the program after that season as his son, Drew, was preparing for his freshman year at Oakdale. The elder Legan was co-head coach the past two seasons, and the Mustangs enjoyed a rare winning season in 2018-19 with a 15-13 record — only the third time they finished .500 or better in 15 years.
“We had a great run the last three years (at East Union) and I just loved the school, loved the coaches I worked with, the faculty was awesome,” Legan said. “There's lots of support over there, and I would have never left if my son wasn't playing in Oakdale.”
Legan was an accomplished player at the high school and college levels. He graduated from Washington High in Fremont in 1992, when he was named Mission Valley Athletic League Player of the Year. In 1991, he and the Huskies advanced to the California Interscholastic Federation Division III State championship game, losing 82-72 to Estancia of Costa Mesa.
Legan went on on play for Ohlone College and Humboldt State, earning all-conference honors every season. He completed his studies at San Jose State, earning degrees in administration off justice and sociology in 1998. His coaching career began as an assistant at both Ohlone and Washington High.
Legan is Director of Operations for 11 Chili's Grill & Bar restaurants.
He is excited to get to work with the Lancers but has been limited so far by the coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Legan added that he plans to stay awhile — the youngest of his five children is going into the sixth grade and will eventually play for him at East Union.
“It has been pretty challenging and a little frustrating, but that's for everybody — it's not just East Union,” he said. “The fortunate part is I've worked with the coaches before and I do already know some of the kids. It's going to be a challenge as soon as things open back up, but I know these are good kids who have been coached well.
“I'm looking forward to the challenge of rebuilding East Union and build the culture up to where it used to be.”