Yattaw named new Shenendehowa varsity coach
CLIFTON PARK — The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Paul Yattaw was named Tuesday night as the successor to Tony Dzikas as the boys’ varsity basketball coach at Shenendehowa. Dzikas announced his resignation in mid-March, just after completing an undefeated season in his 16th campaign leading the Plainsmen, and the school’s Board of Education approved Yattaw at its meeting this week.
Yattaw and Dzikas have know each other for decades.
“Tony and I both graduated from Waterford-Halfmoon,” Yattaw, 57, said. “My first teaching job was at Watervliet Elementary School and Tony’s classroom was diagonally across the hall.”
“Tony went to Shenendehowa, and I applied three years later,” said Yattaw, who, like Dzikas, is a teacher at one of the district’s elementary schools. “We are still diagonally right down the hall from each other, and have been talking basketball on and off for 20 years.”
Yattaw served as Dzikas’ assistant coach the last three seasons. He was the program’s freshman coach for nine years, and also spent a year as the Plainsmen’s JV coach.
Originally, Yattaw said he didn’t have aspirations of becoming a varsity head coach early in his coaching career. As Dzikas hinted at stepping down, though, he started to entertain the thought.
“I knew when I had become his assistant that I should have thoughts of running the program, not knowing if it would ever come to be or how long he was going to stay,” Yattaw said. “Certainly, since he started talking to me about it, I had the interest of taking over after him.”
Replacing Dzikas won’t be easy. Dzikas won four Section II championships and a state title in 2015 with Kevin Huerter — now playing for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks — leading the way. Dzikas won multiple coach-of-the-year honors during a career at Shenendehowa that saw his teams compile a 223-37 mark during Suburban Council play.
Yattaw appreciates the challenge of trying to continue Shenendehowa’s success.
“I’m not trying to be Tony Dzikas; I’ve got to be my own person,” Yattaw said. “Kids are perceptive. They’re intelligent. They’ll read right through me if I’m .
He added: “I’ve got to be true to myself. I’ve got to be me. I’m a hard worker, I’ve got a lot of energy and I plan on focusing on that and being prepared. As Tony said, I’m going to check my boxes and just do everything in my power to give these kids an opportunity to perform at the highest level.”
Also on Tuesday evening, Shenendehowa approved Shawn Eggleston as the varsity field hockey coach.
Eggleston is replacing Jeanne Frevola, who retired after 20 years at the helm of the Plainsmen. Frevola led Shenendehowa to two state championships and also led Hoosick Falls to a state title.