Kucel leaves Gloversville basketball post

Guided Dragons to three straight Section II final four berths
Aric Kucel led the Gloversville varsity basketball team for six seasons.
Aric Kucel led the Gloversville varsity basketball team for six seasons.

Aric Kucel has stepped down as Gloversville High School’s varsity boys’ basketball coach after a six-season run that was capped by a trio of Section II tournament final four appearances.

The 34-year-old Kucel has been teaching physical education at Shaker High School since the beginning of February, and indicated he will apply for Shaker’s vacant varsity boys’ basketball coaching position.

Kucel graduated from Gloversville and played basketball there and at Hudson Valley Community College, and had spent 12 seasons as a coach in the Gloversville basketball program.

His final team at Gloversville, with seven seniors, captured the Foothills Council title and finished 19-4 after a Section II Class A semifinal loss to eventual champion Mekeel Christian Academy.

“When I was hired [by Shaker], I let the kids know I was taking the job,” Kucel said. “It was difficult to tell them, but at the same time, they’re graduating. We’re all leaving together.”

The Shaker varsity coaching position has yet to be posted.

“Do we believe he is going to be an applicant? Yes,” Shaker athletic director Matt Stein said.

Joe Landers served as Shaker’s interim varsity boys’ basketball coach this past season when the Blue Bison won one game. Former Mohonasen coach Josh Peck had been hired for the job, but stepped down due to undisclosed health reasons before the season began.

“Joe was going to be our JV coach. We’re extremely grateful for what he did,” Stein said. “We know Joe will continue to be a part of our basketball program.”

Attempts to reach Gloversville athletic director Mike DeMagistris were unsuccessful.

Kucel’s varsity teams finished 79-53 overall and enjoyed their greatest success over the last three seasons with a combined 54-14 record.

Gloversville went 7-14 and lost to Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake in the first round of the Section II tournament in the 2016-17 season with three freshmen — Dante Bouchard, Joe Rowback and Anderson Jones — in the starting lineup. Gloversville went 15-7 in the 2017-18 season and reached the Section II semifinals before a loss to Amsterdam, and went 20-3 in the 2018-19 season and made it to the Section II title game before losing to Troy.

“It started with those three guys when they were freshmen,” Kucel said of Bouchard, Rowback and Jones. “We took our lumps, but I saw the bigger picture and saw what they would become. Other guys accepted their roles, and it was an amazing ride the last three years. That was a tremendous group of kids I was able to coach.”

Reach Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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