Bishop Hendricken unveiled its new Athletic Director on Wednesday afternoon at a press conference on campus, introducing longtime basketball coach Jamal Gomes as the new leader of the school’s sports programs, taking over for Paul Alianiello who is retiring at the conclusion of the 2019 school year.
Gomes, a 1991 Hendricken graduate that helped guide the Hawks to the 1989 Basketball State Championship as a player, has been coaching at the school since the 2000 season. Since then, the program has become the strongest in Rhode Island history, winning 11 state titles. Gomes was named to the Hendricken Athletics Hall of Fame back in 2012, and is currently a guidance counselor at the school. The school also dedicated its gymnasium floor to him this past basketball season.
Gomes looks forward to the opportunity to lead the Hendricken program, and will also remain the head basketball coach.
“My plan is to still coach basketball. I still love basketball and have a passion for it. I’m going to try my best to balance both for the time being. I am just so excited and grateful for this opportunity, to follow in the footsteps of Paul Alianiello, (Ray Pepin), it’s just a great opportunity,” said Gomes. “My sole goal is to help the school move forward in the next decade. Our athletic program is in great standing I just want to continue to make it better.”
Becoming the school’s next athletic director was something Gomes had in mind for a while, and he appreciated the lessons that he has learned during his time alongside Alianiello and Pepin, who he also played basketball for at Stonehill College in the 1990s.
“It’s beautiful. I had a chance to really think about it. For me to have an opportunity to play for Ray Pepin and to understand the history of success he established here, then to follow in the footsteps of one of the best in the business in Paul Alianiello, I am truly, truly grateful. It’s a big responsibility but I am ready for it,” said Gomes.
Gomes will be only the third athletic director at Hendricken in the past 50 years. Gomes hopes to continue the success that was established by his soon-to-be predecessors, while also leaving his own stamp on the school moving forward.
“This is the place where I grew up. Where I learned to be a man, an athlete, a student, and to be able to impart that on our students and our coaching staff, it’s a beautiful opportunity. Continuity is a beautiful thing. Having that understanding of the program and how we do things will make it better,” said Gomes. “That will be my challenge, how do we make it better? We already have great programs that are winning state championships. It’s about understanding that foundation that Paul Alianiello and Ray Pepin built, they built the foundation, now I want to continue that and keep it moving in a positive direction.”
Alianiello leaves behind one of the most decorated resumes in state history. He began teaching at the school in 1975, and would coach track and field until he took over the AD position from Pepin in 1984. Since then, Hendricken has gone on to win 180 varsity state championships, while also undergoing various improvements along the way. Some of those improvements include a new gym, weight room, track, tennis courts, and the first-ever artificial turf field in the state. He was named the 1992 athletic director of the year and is another Hendricken Athletic Hall of Fame inductee.