SCOTIA — Jim Giammattei said he will use some of his induction speech at Saturday's Scotia-Glenville Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony to formally thank those he hasn't been able to since his resignation as the high school's varsity basketball coach in July.
For those he has already thanked, the humble multi-champion is going to do it again.
"There's not going to be anything about my accomplishments individually," Giammattei said. "It's a team game, and I have so much gratitude toward everyone who was part of my career."
His career with the Tartans spanned 29 seasons, the last 26 with a varsity boys team that went from one win in 1992 to back-to-back state titles in 2014 and 2015. Tim Dowling, Glenn Stopera, Mark Sausville, Jamie Haver and David Versocki were among the guys who assisted Giammattei along the way, and star players like Joe Cremo, Terence Coppola, Jim Janson and Terell Winney piled up points.
"That's the most important thing you can do," Giammattei said of his cast of coaches and athletes. "Surround yourself with good people."
Cremo, who anchored those state title teams and set the school scoring record before moving on to UAlbany, will introduce Giammattei at Saturday's event at Glen Sanders.
"You take Joe Cremo and Jim Giammattei out of this, and there's no state titles," Scotia-Glenville athletic director Jamian Rockhill said. "This thing doesn't happen. What they accomplished is once in a lifetime."
Though they've both moved in different directions, Giammattei and Cremo are to this day the faces of Tartan basketball. Cremo was twice named New York's top Class A player when Scotia-Glenville strung 53 consecutive wins. Giammattei guided his teams to a 400-174 record, five Section II championships and nine Foothills Council top spots.
"We came so far as a program, and the exclamation point was Joe Cremo," Giammattei said.
The constant, though, was Giammattei, who worked at his craft with a firery passion, and instilled that incredible work ethic in so many players.
"He took a program and really elevated their play with hard work," said Chad Bowman, Mekeel Christian Academy's basketball coach and a friend of Giammattei.
Giammattei's first four varsity teams lost more games than they won, but fortunes began to change in the 1995-96 season, when Scotia-Glenville moved from the Suburban Council to the Foothills Council, and Giammattei instituted his now-trademark 3-2 matchup zone defense. From that point, the Tartans put together 20 winning campaigns — including 16 in a row to cap Giammattei's run.
"I never, ever expected this kind of return for my investment of time," Giammattei said.
The Scotia-Glenville math teacher and alumnus of the school will be spending more time now watching his son Jaden, a freshman, play sports at Niskayuna. He will also be scouting all-star basketball players for WNYT NewsChannel 13.
"It's humbling. Great honor," Giammattei said of his hall of fame induction. "Another thing that makes it special is that it's coming at a time when I am still a part of it. I am still in school. It's nice to take it all in while I'm still in the building."
Saturday's festivities begin at 10 a.m. The hall of fame class will also include Dan Riggi (wrestling), twin brothers Todd and Tyler Raymond (running) and Ryan Schmitz (tennis).
Riggi graduated in 2009 with a pair of Section II wrestling championships and the Tartans' record for career wins. The Raymonds helped Scotia-Glenville win a state outdoor 3,200 relay title as seniors in 2002, and they set or
were part of 14 school track records. Tyler Raymond was a two-time state indoor 1,600 champ. Schmitz was Scotia-Glenville's first Section II individual tennis champ as a senior in 2010. He went 24-0 and dropped only one set before the state tournament that year, where he reached the consolation semifinals.