LOUDONVILLE — Each of the last two seasons, Antoni Wyche has seen the Siena College men’s basketball team up close as a member of the Lehigh coaching staff.
Each time, too, Wyche helped his side come away with the win.
“I had both scouts,” Wyche said.
Any trouble going up against Siena, a program with which he’s long had an association?
“Nah. Competition. Wanted to win,” Wyche said. “Didn’t want to come home and take an ‘L.’ ”
Wyche, a Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons High School graduate, was announced last week as one of new Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello’s assistant coaches for the 2019-20 season along with Harley Fuller and Bob Simon. Additionally, Shenendehowa graduate Matt Miner was named the program’s special assistant to the head coach.
Wyche spent the last 10 seasons at Lehigh, the final eight of which he served as the program’s associate head coach. The 41-year-old said he was interested in making a change this offseason, and heading to Siena to work with Maciariello was a natural fit.
“To be back here, on this staff, it’s exciting,” said Wyche, who lived in Ballston Lake and Clifton Park during his high school years, and later played at Notre Dame before his professional career.
Wyche, like Fuller and Simon, possessed the top quality Maciariello wanted in an assistant coach.
“I wanted guys that I knew had really worked,” Maciariello said.
Maciariello and Wyche met in the early 1990s and have kept in touch since that point. Wyche said the two men first met at Siena, when each would work out and play pick-up at the school when Mike Deane coached the Saints. Wyche said he continued to work out at Siena during the offseasons of his college and pro years.
“I should get a degree from here,” Wyche said. “I’ve spent so many years here.”
As a high school player, Wyche starred alongside Antonio Delgado, Kashif Hameed and Joe Taylor on memorable Bishop Gibbons teams. Wyche, The Daily Gazette Player of the Year in 1995, said he remains in touch with his high school teammates.
“Mostly [with Delgado] through texting now that he’s a big-time congressman,” a smiling Wyche said of the 19th Congressional District’s representative.
At Siena, Wyche will serve as the program’s defensive and recruiting coordinator. From his time coaching against Siena these last two seasons, Wyche said he entered his new job with a familiarity with Siena’s returning players.
“Even with Don Carey, at Lehigh, we’d played him during his freshman year [at Mount St. Mary’s],” Wyche said. “And I’ve known Elijah [Burns] since he went to Notre Dame.”
Defensively, Wyche said Siena will continue with a lot of the same principles it used this past season when it went 17-16 and performed as the MAAC’s top defense during conference play.
“But we might extend out a bit more and not be as conservative because we should be deeper and a little more athletic on the perimeter,” Wyche said. “We can get out and pressure some people.”
Siena has three open scholarships for next season and had multiple recruits on its campus this weekend. Once the team’s roster is finalized, Wyche said the Saints will work to fully establish the defensive plan they’ll use for next season.
“We’ve got to get these last few remaining pieces first,” Wyche said.