By Matt Jenkins
---- — John Preziosa was looking to make a transition from coaching college basketball to a head coaching position at the high school level. The Bishop Fenwick boys basketball program just happened to be looking for a new coach.
Timing is everything.
Just a week after former coach Mike Kane stepped down, Bishop Fenwick Athletic Director Dave Woods announced yesterday that Preziosa was named the Crusaders’ new coach.
“Fenwick was looking to make a change and the timing was perfect,” Preziosa said. “It was an opportunity at the right time and it seems like the perfect fit.”
Preziosa spent this season as an assistant at Melrose High School under head coach Mike Kasprzak, but previously was the head coach at Bunker Hill Community College for three years and the head coach at Wheelock College for five years. He was also an associate head coach at Salem State when Sean Doherty was running the Vikings’ program.
Preziosa’s background in college basketball was attractive to Woods and the Fenwick AD figured he had to act fast.
“When Mike (Kane) stepped down I wondered if he’d be interested. It was a matter of timing,” Woods said. “The reason we moved so quickly was that I thought we were lucky to have him available and that he’d be interested.”
Defense will be a focal point for Preziosa, who handled the defensive duties for Melrose in its 22-1 campaign this season.
Melrose advanced to the Division 2 North semifinals before losing to eventual state champ Brighton, 65-62.
According to Preziosa, his time on the bench with Melrose was a great learning experience that will help him with the transition to Fenwick.
Preziosa met with the Fenwick players yesterday afternoon and walked away even more eager to get started than he was when he accepted the job.
“I left feeling really enthusiastic about the program. A lot of guys want to improve and bring a different culture. We’ll try to go humble first,” Preziosa said. “First humble, hungry, then go hard work, I was preaching that today. Some of the kids are already buying into it and if they meet me halfway I think we can achieve good things.”
Preziosa is inheriting a team with a solid, experienced nucleus.
Juniors Matt Costello, Dom Luoni, Rishad DeSilva, Travis Maxner, and Devin Graham each got a lot of time this season, and sophomore Jhon Oliveira worked his way into the starting lineup late in the year.
“A lot of guys in this situation might want to look to the future,” Preziosa said. “I’m looking right away. I want to give (next year’s) seniors a proper send off and bring some championship basketball back to Fenwick.”
Preziosa, 42, grew up in Malden and now lives in Melrose with his wife and two sons. He’s well aware of Fenwick’s tradition on the court and he’s hoping his teams can add to it.
Assistant coach Ryan Sasso, a Fenwick graduate who scored over 1,000 points during his high school career, will remain with the program.
“I’ve been doing my homework. I have some films from last year and I’m very familiar with the roster,” Preziosa said. “I think I have some ideas that we can improve on what they’ve been building and hopefully bring it to the next level.”