Des Randall had a chance to get his foot in the door in the college coaching ranks a few years ago but opted to remain at the scholastic level to coach his little brother and several other standouts whom he had worked with for years in AAU. That group includes Davonte Gaines, now at Tennessee.
They’ve all moved on, so it’s only natural for Randall to take the next step in his coaching career.
Randall is leaving his alma mater, West Seneca West, to take over the Villa Maria College men’s basketball program.
New Villa Maria Athletic Director Amanda Janosky confirmed the hire to The News on Thursday.
Randall, 30, takes over the fifth-year program from local coaching legend Don Silveri, who guided the team to back-to-back 25-win seasons and an appearance in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament. The USCAA consists of mostly small colleges, community colleges and junior colleges.
“It’s been my aspiration to coach in college. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity,” Randall said. “Coach Silveri laid out the blueprint for success. I just want to continue what he started.”
So why Villa, which is hopeful of making the jump to NCAA Division III in the future? Randall has learned that advancing at the college level is all about experience and who you know.
“There’s nothing that beats that experience of being able to win games and recruit,” he said. “It was just a step in the right direction for my career.”
In Randall, Villa Maria gets a young, basketball-savvy coach who quickly turned West Seneca West into a championship program during his two seasons. In 2017-18, he guided West to 24 consecutive wins to open the season, including the Section VI Class A championship. The Indians lost in the state quarterfinals to then defending state champion Irondequoit.
Last year, amid a slow start due to the off-court drama surrounding the ineligibility of his brother Juston Johnson along with playing a daunting nonleague schedule, Randall still guided West to the Section VI Class A-1 championship and an overall winning season (13-12).
Randall’s career coaching record is 68-32. He’s also coached AAU for nine years.
Before West Seneca West, Randall guided Bishop Timon-St. Jude in “the no nights off” Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association for two seasons. The Tigers earned the top seed for the playoff in 2016-17, losing to eventual champion Canisius in the semifinals.
Randall went to Timon after two seasons as an assistant at Canisius. He was part of the Crusaders’ coaching staff when the team won the state Federation Class A championship in 2015.
He’s coached a Monsignor Martin Player of the Year (Davion Warren), two first-team All-Western New York selections (Warren and Juston Johnson), a second-team All-WNY pick (Adrian Baugh) and a third-teamer (Joe Harrison).
Congrats Lil bro best coach in WNY!! https://t.co/iWfniXVSBO
— Juston Johnson™ (@Jdub05Juston) July 25, 2019
“Des is energetic, he’s ready to go, he’s so eagar and he comes from good roots,” said Janosky, who trained with Randall’s father, Demeris Johnson, during her days as a soccer player at Canisius College. “He’s so put together and he’s ready to build something and that’s what we need.”
Janosky also confirmed that former Mount St. Mary coach and Cardinal O’Hara assistant Michael McCarthy has been named women’s basketball coach. She said Robert Cathcart has been named cross country coach, and Mark Evertt is the men’s soccer coach. Janosky will remain the women's soccer coach.