The student news site of Skyline College.

The Skyline View

The student news site of Skyline College.

The Skyline View

The student news site of Skyline College.

The Skyline View

    Skyline nets a new men’s basketball coach

    Accompanied by his wife of three years and three-month-old daughter, Justin Piergrossi, 30, was introduced to the press as the new Skyline men’s basketball head coach on June 9.Hailing from Hartford, Connecticut, Piergrossi played at Bloomfield High School for Joe Reilly who won over 500 games as head coach and was known for getting the most out of not so much talent according to Piergrossi and enabled him to get inspired to be a coach.”I want to help develop my kids on and off the floor,” Piergrossi said. “That is going to be one of the major barometers for myself, when I say are we being successful in my program or not. Are we developing the kids, and are they handling themselves as mature young men? So my goal is to put a team on the floor that is very competitive that plays very hard, takes pride in our program, and takes pride in what they are doing here as student athletes.”Piergrossi learned about coaching most from Reilly by witnessing first-hand how he motivated the players. After high school, he got an opportunity to play small college basketball and an opportunity to attend an Ivy league school. He eventually decided education was more important and headed to the University of Pennsylvania.While at Penn, his team won 46 games in a row and Piergrossi started focusing on coaching at that point. While attending college he interned for the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1996-97 season. Piergrossi has seven years of coaching experience-five years at University of San Francisco as an assistant from 1999-2004 and two years at Hanover.Piergrossi has a few assistant coaches in mind for the upcoming basketball season and so far has kept Johnny Collins, who was the academic counselor for the players as well as an assistant coach, and will be retained in both capacities. At this point, any other assistants from last year’s staff have not contacted Piergrossi.”I have some potential candidates in mind,” Piergrossi said. “I have been contacted by the local high schools and have expressed some interest in one of their JV coaches or the assistant varsity coaches. I would definitely like to have somebody that is familiar with the area and local recruiting is going to be a cornerstone of the program. I definitely want to build within our own backyard first.” Piergrossi was intrigued by Skyline because he wanted to stay in the Bay Area and has been in the Bay Area for five years and has enjoyed his time. “I wanted to be somewhere where they have won in the past and where I thought I can win now,” Piergrossi said. “I think I have that in Skyline. The support that my student athletes are going to get off the floor, the support they are going to get in the classrooms, the tutorial services, I think that is the support they deserve. There is going to be a lot demanded of them. They are going to get everything they need to succeed academically and I will provide them with everything they need athletically.”He also wants to put a team on the floor that the college, community, the students, and alumni that can be proud of– pride that doesn’t necessarily come from wins and losses, but for the effort the team puts on the floor, in the classroom, and the way the athletes handle themselves on campus and in the community.There was speculation that the dismissal of Tony Raffetto was due to a bad season but that was far from the truth according to Skyline College Athletic Dean Andreas Wolf. The Skyline administration opened the head coaching position full time. Tony Raffetto was part-time for four years at Skyline and prior to Raffetto, Pete Pontacq was full-time. When opening up a new position, it is open to everyone. The committee goes through the applications each application is given an equal opportunity whether they are an incumbent, coaching at a four-year university, or is a graduate assistant out of college. “We determined as a committee that it wasn’t anything negative about Coach Raffetto. He is a fine gentleman, he is a good coach, he is a good instructor,” Wolf said. “But, we felt that Coach Piergrossi was a better fit for our institution. We felt that he brought a lot of the tools and the skills we were looking for as a division to continue with the success of the program. There is nothing I can say negative about Coach Raffetto.”When it comes to recruiting, Piergrossi wants to get players that have character and that are coachable. His playing system is simple to learn, according to Piergrossi.”I am going to recruit character,” Piergrossi said. “I want good kids; I want kids that are coachable. It’s not going to help me a whole lot if I were to recruit kids that can play a certain system or a kid that I need to get to a certain system if they are not coachable. Number one is going to be their character and their academic integrity. As far as basketball skills, my system is very simple. I believe in a two-year school where it needs to be simple-you don’t have four years to teach your system.”His playing system is a motion offense where everybody is involved and the players are unselfish. The system also likes to create tempo, push the ball, and, on defense, put the pressure on the offense by using either full court pressure or half court man-to-man. Piergrossi is a defensively oriented coach and believes that defense is about effort and also to create equal scoring opportunities. Coach Piergrossi’s first day on the job was on June 8 where he spent it in his office. He was out of town when he got word of becoming head coach for Skyline and will begin teaching an advanced basketball class during the summer semester on June 14.”I feel pretty much like part of the Skyline family,” Piergrossi said.

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