Dane Johnson enters his first season as head coach of the South Bay Lakers in 2023-24, following six seasons on the coaching staff of the South Bay Lakers. He becomes the 10th head coach in franchise history.
Prior to joining the Lakers affiliate, Johnson previously served as a coaching assistant with the team in 2016-17. He entered the coaching ranks while working at The Hoop in Salem, Oregon, a competitive basketball training facility that works with young basketball players.
Johnson played a year at Western Oregon University, earning Great Northwest Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year honors, before transferring to Portland State, where he led the Vikings in assists in his final season in 2011-12. His basketball career dates back to his days at St. Francis DeSales (OH) High, where he led his team to two undefeated league championships and was a first-team all-league selection for three years. He went on to play a year in the International Basketball League before transitioning to a coaching and mentorship role. He is a native of Columbus, Ohio.
Brian Walsh, Associate Head Coach & Director, Player Development
Brian Walsh enters his tenth season with the South Bay Lakers in 2023-24, bringing an extensive background of coaching with him.
A teacher of the game at virtually every level, Walsh gained a wealth of experience at the international level by working in a coaching capacity in countries such as Venezuela, Belarus, China and Vietnam. Before joining the South Bay Lakers staff , he helped develop younger players at Albuquerque (NM) High School.
Walsh got his start at the professional level with the New Mexico Slam of the International Basketball League, serving as head coach and director of player personnel. He has served as an assistant at the G League level with the Lakers, Dakota Wizards, Colorado 14ers and Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Eventually ending the 2007-08 as the Vipers’ head coach, Walsh closed the season with a 4-0 record and continues to hold the G League’s highest career win percentage in a head coaching role. Internationally, Walsh took over as head coach of the Al Ahli Professional Sports Club in 2009-10, winning the SBL U19 Championship, while reaching the semi-finals of the Arab Nations Cup. He also served as head coach of Gambusinos De Fresnillo in Mexico (2006) and was an assistant for Guaiqueries in Venezuela (2012-13).
Alex Cerda, Assistant Coach
Alex Cerda started his basketball career at the University of Texas where he served as a student manager under Shaka Smart. After graduation, Cerda joined the Fort Wayne Mad Ants as the Head Video Coordinator and Director of Player Development. He then spent two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers in the video department before reuniting with fellow Longhorn alum Terroba in Texas.
Cerda most recently served as an Assistant Coach / Offensive Coordinator for the Texas Legends (G league affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks) for the past two seasons.
In the off-season, he operates a Player Development training program in Dallas, Texas training Pros, Collegiate, & HS level athletes. He has worked with numerous NBA athletes in the off-season such as: Jared Butler, Carlik Jones, Shake Milton, Justin Jackson, AJ Lawson & Jericho Sims.
Willie Freeman, Assistant Coach
Willie Freeman enters his first season with the South Bay Lakers in 2023-24. Freeman spent three different stints on the Catamount men’s basketball staff first as a graduate assistant in 2004 then as Director of Basketball Operations in the 2013-14 season. After his one year with the women’s basketball staff, he again moved over to the men's basketball staff in the summer of 2015 spending three seasons under former Catamount head men’s basketball coach Larry Hunter.
Prior to his return to Cullowhee in 2013, Freeman spent one season as the head coach of the Salem Sabres in Salem, Ore., of the International Basketball League. He led the team to a number one seed in the divisional playoffs in their inaugural season. He also spent two seasons coaching the North Salem High School Vikings to back-to-back OSAA Central Valley Conference League Championships where he was a two-time Coach of the Year selection while compiling a 41-13 record.
Freeman played for the Catamounts for two seasons from 2000-02 where he averaged 10.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He played alongside former Catamount great and retired NBA star, Kevin Martin, for one season as a senior. He was a starter for the Catamounts from day one and later served as team captain after transferring from Spartanburg Methodist College where he served as a team captain and was a two-year starter. He earned a degree in sports management from Western Carolina University in 2003.
Following his playing career at WCU, Freeman spent one season as an assistant coach on the Smoky Mountain High School boys' basketball staff. After his one-year at Smoky Mountain High School, Freeman spent five years playing overseas in Argentina, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Uruguay, and Israel. He also spent a short time with the Macon Blaze of the World Basketball Association. Following his retirement from playing, Freeman worked as a professional trainer at The Hoop before returning to the coaching ranks at North Salem High School in Salem, Oregon.
Vinnie McGhee, Assistant Coach
Vinnie McGhee is in his first season with the South Bay Lakers. McGhee joins South Bay after five seasons at the University of San Francisco after joining the Dons’ staff as an assistant coach in the spring of 2019. Originally from Oakland, CA. In 2022-23, McGhee helped the Dons to a 20-win season under first-year head coach Chris Gerlufsen.During the 2021-22 season, with McGhee’s help, San Francisco won 24 games - the program’s highest win total since 1981-82. The Dons earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament, which was the team’s first since the tournament bracket was expanded to its modern format of 64+ teams. Prior to joining USF’s staff, McGhee spent three seasons at Northern Colorado. During his time at UNC, he helped guide the Bears to back-to-back 20+ win seasons. During the 2017-18 season, the Bears won a school record 26 games en route to securing the 2018 CIT Championship. It was the program’s first ever postseason tournament title. Before his stint at Northern Colorado, McGhee got his start in coaching at UTEP as a graduate assistant in 2015-16. During his time with the Miners, McGhee oversaw player development, scouting, travel, and academics. As a student-athlete, Vinnie McGhee scored over 1,000 career points at the Division I level with stops at Sacramento State and CSUN. McGhee and his wife Brianna currently reside in San Francisco with their son Vinnie McGhee III.
Joshua Townsend, Head Video Coordinator
Joshua Townsend enters his first season with the South Bay Lakers in 2023-24. Townsend was a four-year standout player at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania from 2016-19, helping the Golden Bears to two PSAC East Championships and two NCAA Tournament bids. He finished his collegiate career as one of the program’s best rebounds, with 553 career rebounds to rank fifth all-time. Townsend was also a team captain for the Golden Bears.
Townsend was a frequent volunteer with the Special Olympics of Eastern Pennsylvania while at Kutztown, organizing and running a five-on-five basketball tournament. He also helped with basketball camps held at Kutztown in the summers and at ones hosted by Olivet Boys and Girls Club of Reading, Pennsylvania. Townsend graduated from Kutztown in December 2020. He attended high school at basketball powerhouse Imhotep Charter School in Philadelphia.
Bria Adams, Head Athletic Trainer
Bria Adams enters her first season with the South Bay Lakers in 2023-24. Prior to joining the Lakers, Adams joined the Chicago Sky in May of 2021, the season where the Sky won its first ever WNBA Championship. Prior to joining the Chicago Sky, Adams served as the Assistant Athletic Trainer for Florida State’s Women’s basketball team for ten months. Her resume also includes working as an Assistant Athletic Trainer for South Carolina’s Women’s basketball and Tennis teams. Prior to her time at South Carolina State, Adams was a rehabilitation specialist and graduate assistant at Texas State where she assisted with the football and women’s basketball teams.
She is a certified National Academy of Sports Medicine-Corrective Exercise Specialist. Adams is also a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training at San Diego State in May 2016 and graduated from Texas State with her Master of Science in Athletic Training in May 2018.
Saul Cruz, Assistant Athletic Trainer
Saul Cruz enters his third season as assistant athletic trainer for the South Bay Lakers in 2023-24. Prior to his current role, Cruz served as a certified athletic trainer/strength and conditioning intern for the Agua Caliente Clippers (Los Angeles Clippers G-League affiliate).
Cruz attended California State University, Long Beach and received a B.S. in athletic training. The Los Angeles native is currently enrolled at Concordia University Chicago as he is pursuing a master’s degree in applied exercise science.
Misha Cavaye, Strength & Conditioning Coach
Misha Cavaye enters his ninth season with the South Bay Lakers as strength and conditioning coach in 2023-24. Cavaye previously added the roles of massage therapist and equipment manager to his role of strength and conditioning coach.
A native of London, England, Cavaye has an extensive history with the Los Angeles Lakers organization, having served as an assistant equipment manager with the team since 2011. Since 2014, Cavaye has been a performance coach with Velocity Sport Performance and a posture therapist for Myodetox, specializing at in-home pain treatment, rehabilitation and other manual therapies. He is a graduate of Cal State Northridge and Concordia University.
Jay Rosario, Equipment Manager
Jay Rosario enters his first season as the equipment manager for the South Bay Lakers in 2023-24.