ROTTERDAM — The Mohonasen High School administration has selected one of its own to run the varsity boys' basketball team.
Graham Macbeth, who assisted head coach Ray Kearney last season and worked alongside Josh Peck in the four seasons before, will guide the Mighty Warriors this upcoming season, pending school board approval on Monday.
"With his love for Mohonasen, his passion and energy, and the experience he's gained, I'm very confident he'll do well," Mohonasen athletic director Dave Austin said.
The 34-year-old Macbeth is a special education teacher at Mohonasen and a 2003 graduate of the high school, where he lettered in football and basketball.
"This is a thrill of a lifetime. The smile hasn't left my face," Macbeth said of getting his first head coaching position. "I've worked for it, and am looking forward to showing them they made the right choice."
Mohonasen went 16-7 last season with Kearney in charge. Mohonasen posted a Section II Class A quarterfinal upset win against Averill Park before a semifinal loss to Gloversville. Kearney did not reapply for the position, with the physical education teacher opting to focus on his duties as the high school's strength and conditioning coordinator.
"Ray was fantastic to work with," Macbeth said. "He went out of his way to make me feel comfortable with the Xs and Os. He took the time. He was so good to me. I was blessed to work with two great coaches."
Peck led Mohonasen on a history-making run in his final season when the team followed up its Section II title with a first-ever regional championship and state semifinal appearance. That edition finished 15-10.
"He [Peck] is a guru. He imparted a ton of knowledge, and not just about basketball, but about helping prepare kids for life," Macbeth said. "That's something we take seriously here. Wins and losses matter, but it's always more than that."
"He's been around two very experienced, very knowledgeable coaches in Ray Kearney and Josh Peck," Austin said. "He's been with the program. His knowledge base has grown being around such good people."
Mohonasen reached at least the sectional semifinals in each of the last three seasons, and Macbeth wants to keep that run going with a team led by seniors Drew Coelho, Tim Febbie and Shawn Gillisslee. The Mighty Warriors graduated six, including school career scoring leader Duncan Tallman and 6-foot-8 Chase Monroe.
"The goal every year is to get to Glens Falls. I think we have the personnel," Macbeth said. "I worked with our group in the summer league, and they play as a team and have good chemistry. We're a little undersized but we'll play hard and we'll try to create opportunities with our toughness. We hope to surprise some people."
"Graham is very familiar with all of the kids, and they know how much he cares about the program," Austin said. "I think they are going to play hard for him."
Since the school year began Macbeth has been running the open gym for Mohonasen's varsity, junior varsity and modified basketball players.
"He coaches in the CDYBL, too," Austin said of the St. John's graduate and Schenectady resident. "He understands the pulse of the basketball program."
Macbeth has been a basketball guy since he was little.
"My grandfather [the late Ed Lortie] played at St. Bonaventure, and he got me hooked on the game," Macbeth said. "He got me going."