I’m sure by now you have heard and seen the mess at Rutgers University with their men’s basketball team. As a boys varsity high school basketball coach, I get upset by stuff like this. As I watched the Rutgers basketball coach on video, I thought back to my coaches at Holy Name.
Growing up in the neighborhood, I played all sports for Holy Name.
Baseball, basketball, track & field and cross-country. Sure I developed lasting friendships with my teammates but what stuck out this morning were the guys that coached me.
When I was in the third grade playing Bantam ‘B’ basketball my first coach was Georgie Rauthier. I recall the practices at P.S. 10 and us not winning many games all season. I recall jumping in someone’s car and driving to and from games where we would get crushed by the likes of Regina Pacis and St. Finbar.
But Georgie made it fun.
It wasn’t about who played more minutes or who was the star. Didn’t matter the leading scorer either. We shared the ball.
Georgie was a joy to be around. I remember one night at P.S. 10 after practice he let us go wild and I recall him climbing the ropes that hung from the ceiling in the gym and he was flying around like spider man.
In the fourth grade it was time to play Bantam ‘A’ basketball for Danny Piselli. Danny was the best coach I have ever had. He taught us the game. Sure there were times I fought his philosophy/discipline, but deep down I was soaking it all up.
To this day Danny has been a great friend and I credit him with giving me a shot in the coaching profession too. I also credit him for the small amount of success I have achieved and the path I have taken. He made me believe in myself and love the game of basketball. (I still use a few of his practice drills with my players)
The late Joe Farrell and Tom Brady were two others who coached me in baseball and basketball.
‘Fonz’, as he was affectionately known taught me how to pitch while a sixth grader and helped shaped my love for the game of baseball. At times he had me feeling like Dennis Leonard of the Kansas City Royals.
Mr. Gruschow was my track and cross-country coach – those days will never be lost. I could still see everyone meeting at the 10th avenue entrance of the park and walking over together to practice when Mr. Gruschow arrived.
I’ll never forget the day at Midwood field when I won the 100 yard dash. As I crossed the finish line I looked up into the stands and saw Mr. Gruschow; he was applauding and telling me, “WAY TO GO STEVE!”
Sometimes as kids we have no idea where we’ll end up in the game of life; I never thought I’d coach, really. But I love it and I enjoy helping kids.
This is a special shout out to my coaches at Holy name – truly unforgettable. You guys helped teach me how to play the game, how to act in public and most of all, how to treat people.
Did you have a favorite coach from Holy Name?