Griffins name DiBacco basketball coach

Orlando “Orlie” DiBacco learned the game from some of the best coaches in Section II history. Now, t
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Orlando “Orlie” DiBacco learned the game from some of the best coaches in Section II history.

Now, the former Watervliet High School standout point guard will get the opportunity to build his own legacy.

DiBacco, 40, who played under George Mardigan, the retired Cannoneers’ coach, was named the new Bishop Maginn head basketball coach at Tuesday’s press conference in the school library. DiBacco replaces 34-year-old Rich Hurley, who won two Section II Class AA championships, a state title in 2008 and posted an overall record of 91-31 in five seasons with the Golden Griffins. Hurley resigned to spend more time with his family and to further his education.

On hand at the press conference to show support for DiBacco were Mardigan, Section II’s all-time leader in career wins, as well as former Watervliet players Brian Fruscio, now the head coach at Albany Academy, and Andre Cook, the head coach at Hudson Valley Community College.

“Orlie is a good man. I have all the confidence in the world that he will do a great job,” said Mardigan, who won 544 games in 30 seasons at Watervliet.

DiBacco, a Colonial Council MVP while competing for the Cannoneers, played at Utica College before beginning his coaching career. He spent five years as the JV coach at La Salle under Fruscio, and has spent the last four years as the JV coach for Hurley at Maginn. He has led his teams to five Big 10 JV titles.

“I’ve spent the last 41⁄2 years working for coach Hurley, and I feel fortunate to have been part of this program. It’s been a pleasure to work with him,” said DiBacco. “The expectations and standards here are set pretty high. The bar for me to reach is definitely high. I’m very excited and lucky to take over this program.”

DiBacco, who is still among the all-time leaders in career assists at Watervliet, said he doesn’t plan any major changes in the program’s direction.

“We’ll play the way we have for the last couple of years, and that includes pressure defense and an up-tempo offense,” he said. “We will compete hard in every game. I don’t see any change in philosophy.”

DiBacco said he was thrilled to have the support of so many of his former players and coaches.

“I’m very honored to see my old teammates, like Andre Cook, and my former coaches like Coach Mardigan and Coach Fruscio,” he said. “It means a lot to me. My family is also here. I’m really looking forward to continuing the succeess that this program has had over the last few years.”

From a successful small school himself, DiBacco said he expects most of his players to compete in several sports, even if that conflicts with the basketball season.

“At Watervliet, almost everybody was a two- or three-sport guy. I understand that,” he said. “All I’m trying to do is continue what is already set in place. I’ve been part of two two successful programs already. At the JV level, I did a lot of teaching, and I know our kids will be well prepared. One lesson I got from Coach Mardigan early on is that preparation is extremely important, and that every practice and every game counts.”

Categories: High School Sports

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