1) I have had an extensive sneaker collection since I was a child (below). My first pair of Jordans was purchased in 5th grade. I have been a sneaker head ever since. I would get up early in the morning and wait in line for newly released sneakers (more times than not it was before 6 a.m. and there would already be a line). A shout-out to my Mom who would help if I was unable to get up. Love you, mom! Most of the sneakers are in the original boxes, unworn. I have so many sneakers that when I was single living in a small apartment in Boston, while coaching at Boston University, I was tight on storage so naturally I stored them in my kitchen cabinets.
2) I have two beautiful children: my daughter, Reese (4) (below) and my son, Matteo (12 months). Reese was born on St. Patrick’s Day. It was the first day of March Madness when my wife went into labor, so I was able to sit back, relax, and watch 12 straight hours of college basketball. The day she was born I also went to practice (my wife doesn’t let me forget that).
3) I played basketball professionally in Italy in the early 2000s. I lived outside Bologna. I also lived in Sicily (Ragusa), Massafra, and outside Milan in a town called Novara. I played on a few college touring teams in Belgium, Holland, and Greece. After my year with Coach Fran McCaffery, I was offered a contract to play with a professional team in Amsterdam, Holland. I chose to pursue coaching as a career instead.
4) I played collegiately for Siena College. I gave up a full Division I scholarship at the University of New Hampshire to be a walk-on at Siena. My path crossed again with Siena when I came to work for Coach McCaffrey as the Director of Basketball Operations. However, my first direct experience with Siena basketball was in the summer before 4th grade at a Siena basketball camp. The head coach at the time was Mike Deane. All of the campers were given a basketball report card, and one of the counselors wrote in my report card that I didn’t have a future in basketball. The rest is history!
5) Before coaching, I worked with special needs students in the North Colonie school district as a 1:1 aide in a special needs classroom. I also volunteered with my wife and her sisters at a camp in New Hampshire for a week, Camp Fatima. The week is called Exceptional Citizens week, and it’s for kids and adults with disabilities. Each camper has their own counselor and you get to hang out for the whole week and partake in activities such as boating, horseback riding, arts and crafts. My camper showed up with a pair of Jordans on, so we were a perfect match!
6) I helped to start an organization called Coaches4Change, which was founded by college coaches from across the United States to educate student athletes on issues surrounding social justice, racism, and the importance of voting. We meet monthly via Zoom to discuss any current issues or events surrounding these topics.
7) I met my wife in Boston while coaching at BU. We were married in Boston at the State Room at 60 State St. which is on the 33rd floor of that building with panoramic views of the Boston skyline and Boston Harbor. We met at a great restaurant in Boston called Eastern Standard which is about a block away from Fenway Park. We still have some favorite restaurants in Boston that we like to go to when we visit. One of our favorites is Lone Star Taco in Brighton, a little hole in the wall with great margaritas.
8) I do have some game day rituals. If you have ever been in the Times Union Center on game day, you likely noticed my signature game day hair, always slicked back. I use Clubman styling gel and then a top secret pomade. My other game day rituals include a three-mile run. I also get a hot roast beef from Maurice’s on South-pearl St., and I always have three pieces of gum in my pocket for the game (first half, Second half, and if need be, overtime).
9) I also have a sports card collection which includes rookie cards of Lebron James and Kobe Bryant. I also have numerous cards of Michael Jordan. My card collection started as a hobby with my dad with NFL cards while watching football with him. I would get packs of football cards and open them on football Sundays while watching games. During the height of the COVID lockdown last year, my wife would find me in my office looking through old cards I hadn’t looked at in years.
10) One thing that surprises people is that I’m a big Atlanta Falcons fan. I really admired Andre Rison and Deion Sanders. I watched them growing up and loved their speed and athleticism. I’m hoping to catch a game at Mercedes Benz Stadium one day.