Greg Christodulu envisions a smooth transition from assistant coach to head coach of the Shenendehowa varsity baseball team.
The former three-sport star at Gloversville was unanimously approved by the Shenendehowa Board of Education Tuesday night, and takes over for Jim Carrese, who in 22 seasons guided the Plainsmen to 349 wins, 16 Suburban Council titles and Section II banners in 1994 and 1996.
“I’ve been immersed in Shenendehowa baseball for quite some time, in every aspect,” said Christodulu. “Jim gave me free reign from offensive philosophy, weight training to personnel. He entrusted me with a lot of things in the program, and because of that, we should be able to pick it up rather easily.”
Christodulu inherits a program that’s on solid ground. The Plainsmen reached the Section II playoffs 17 times under Carrese, and played in five title games including the 2012 Class AA final.
“We’ve got great kids who work at it. We’ve got a great community who supports it. We have a nice community program for the kids on the way up,” said Christodulu, a physical education teacher at Shenendehowa East. “Things are in place.”
The staff is in place, too, with Christodulu announcing that pitching coach Keith Lansley and assistants Steve Decker and John Coletta will all be returning to aid the team.
“We work hard at it. In some regards, we run a college program as far as the weight room, guys playing in summer and the skills and drills we apply in the season,” said Christodulu. “As well as being competitive, we want to prepare guys to play at the next level.”
Shenendehowa played at a very high level in the four years Christodulu served as an assistant under Carrese. The Plainsmen won a Suburban Council division title each time and averaged 17 victories.
“Sure we want to win and have success, but the main thing is for the kids to have a good experience,” said Christodulu. “The wins will take care of themselves if we play the game right and do enough good things.”
Last spring the Plainsmen finished 16-6 after a 3-2, nine-inning loss to Columbia in the sectional title game. Shenendehowa reached the sectional semifinals in 2011 and dropped a 6-5 game to Colonie for a 16-5 finish.
“Our seniors have experienced multiple games at the Joe [Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, home of the Class AA semifinals and title game], and the motivation factor is there,” said Christodulu. “It’ll be an interesting year. They have something they want to get.”
Christodulu served as Shenendehowa’s junior varsity baseball coach from 2003-08 and led the Plainsmen to a 108-28 record. He played baseball, basketball and football at Gloversville, graduating in 1982 and competed in baseball and football at the University of Delaware. He quarterbacked the Syracuse University football team for two years before transferring to Delaware.
Christodulu was the head baseball coach at Susquehanna University (Pa.) from 1991-96 (104-85-3 record). His 1992 and 1995 teams were the school’s first to reach the NCAA Division III tournament, and each set school records for victories. Three of his Susquehanna teams had 20-win seasons, and four of his players are in the school’s hall of fame.
“The first year there we broke the school record for losses. It was a struggling program and we turned it around. That was the best stretch at the school, and they’ve been playing for 100 years,” said Christodulu. “I take a great deal of pride in that.”
Christodulu was an assistant football coach at Susquehanna as well as at the University at Albany and James Madison. At Shenendehowa he spent time as a varsity football assistant and freshman coach.
Christodulu was Johnstown’s athletic director and a physical education teacher and coach at Gloversville before his move to Shenendehowa in 2002.