In Profile: Justin Piergrossi

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When most people watch a game of basketball, they’re watching for the players. They like to see the competition, the attitude, and the skill displayed on the court. But what the casual fans might not see is that what they see on the court is just a small portion of a basketball player’s career. A player needs to practice, to train, and to be organized into not just a single player, but into an integral part of a team. That team needs strategy, they need coordination, and, above all, they need leadership. And that’s where the coach comes in. Justin Piergrossi, the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Skyline, has been in his position for five seasons. Including off-seasons, that equates to five years of experience as head coach. And he couldn’t be happier. “Skyline is a great fit,” Piergrossi said. Many factors influenced Piergrossi’s decision to take the head coach position at Skyline, including his knowledge of the basketball team’s history and having worked with former Skyline players before. He felt that it was an opportune time not only to advance his career, but to make a big impact in things. “I knew the teams have been successful in the past, so there was a great possibility of future success,” Piergrossi said. “And I love the area… I was just seeing a great place for me to be.” Though this is Piergrossi’s first position as head coach, he has had a lot of experience in the past working internships, doing volunteer work, and even working as an assistant coach. When he was in college, Piergrossi interned for the Philadelphia 76ers before spending a season volunteering at the University of Connecticut. From there, he travelled to the Bay Area in order to pursue the best coaching jobs. He spent two years coaching at Hanover before going to SF State for his Masters’ Degree, and ultimately moving to Skyline. In addition to being the head coach for Men’s Basketball, he is a full-time faculty employee who teaches various courses, from basketball to sports management to general fitness classes. “I’m very happy doing what I’m doing,” Piergrossi said. “I was at the Division 1 level for five years. I loved being at that level, but I think this is where I can best utilize my skills and help develop the most kids.” Whether the students are trying to play basketball as a lifelong career or just for another few years, Piergrossi does what he can to help them develop, both athletically and academically, and make sure they get into a four-year school – hopefully with a scholarship. Piergrossi is proud of his coaching career at Skyline. According to him, when he first took the job, the team was 6 and 18 for the season. He says he’s been able to improve on that record drastically, as well as change the way the team recruits. “As a community college we should have community players,” Piergrossi said. “Usually about 90% of our team is local kids… and not only have we played with local kids, but we’ve been competitive and won with local kids.” Piergrossi feels it’s a major step to let people know that the team can succeed with the people from the team’s area, as opposed to other teams who may have been recruiting from all over the state. Between achieving the job he’s been aiming for since high school and being able to make major changes for the better in the Men’s Basketball team, Piergrossi is very happy with his position at Skyline. “It’s been fantastic,” Piergrossi said. “There’s nothing like being the head coach.”