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Huskies get new coach!

Varsity - 2007 Season
Posted Monday, November 12, 2007 by gary chiarella

Chiarella ready to lead Harrison boys basketball team
Tony Pinciaro
Once a program hires a new coach, it immediately leaves the returning players wondering what to expect.

When Harrison varsity boys basketball coach Steve Ciraco retired from teaching and coaching in June, the uncertainty surrounding the new coach began. However, it would not apply as Harrison athletic director Mike Gansell moved quickly, selecting assistant Gary Chiarella as the new coach, which immediately pleased the players.
"I was sad to see Coach Ciraco go, but I'm pretty happy at the same time," said 6-foot-5 senior Eric Eklund. "I've known Coach Chiarella since I was a freshman. He is a good coach who has a love for the sport. It's not going to take long at all for us to get used to his style. I know he is looking forward to turning this team around."
Chiarella is no stranger to Huskies basketball. The 1982 Harrison graduate, who grew up in West Harrison, was a two-year starter at shooting guard. Chiarella, currently a Harrison police detective, was the modified coach for five years, then spent four years as the junior-varsity coach.
A Harrison resident and also the youth officer at Harrison's Louis M. Klein Middle School, Chiarella is looking forward to upgrading the program.
"We have a core of ninth- and 10th-graders that are into basketball more than any other sport," said the 43-year-old Chiarella. "There is a bright future. We might take our lumps, but we will get the experience."
Chiarella made it clear that he is here for his players at any time.
"If the players see that the coach is committed, then they will be also," he said. "I've told them I know they have a lot going on, but I gave them options for summer basketball or to come to the (Harrison rec center) for open gym. I let them know that I was going to be at the rec. They would ask each other if Coach was over there (at the rec) and they would come over."
In preparation for his first season, Chiarella hit the court in fast-break style. The Huskies attended the Providence basketball camp and also played in the Westchester summer league. When school resumes in September, Chiarella said he plans on working with Dominic Zanot, a personal trainer at BX Strength and Speed in Mamaroneck, on a conditioning program.
Eklund is one of the 25-30 kids who have been involved, Chiarella said. Even though Harrison's summer-league record was not what it wanted, it was a learning experience playing against Mount Vernon and New Rochelle.
"It was good for us playing in the summer league because we have a lot of new guys on the team, and it was a good way to get to know how we all play," said Eklund, who averaged 10.5 points last season. "We learned that those teams have some really good players, and playing against them is going to make us better players in the future."
Chiarella plans on implementing the same style he used as JV coach - to press and play up-tempo. However, in order to accomplish that, rebounding will be the key. And in Eklund, Chiarella has a player who can control the boards.
"I explained to the guys that all of this offseason work is to make them improve individually and for us to learn to play better together," Chiarella said. "I want the guys to know that I am fair and I am somewhat old-school, but I do it in a fun way. However, sometimes it's not going to be fun."
Reach Tony Pinciaro at apinciar@lohud.com or 914-696-8234.



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