Monday, December 15, 2008

Mardigan to be feted; LaBombards hoping to turn it around at CCHS

Mardigan in his younger days as a star athlete at HVCC. (Photo courtsey

Legendary Watervliet boys basketball head coach George Mardigan will be honored at halftime of Tuesday's JV game between Schalmont and Watervliet. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the varsity will play immediately following the first game.
We'll have a full story in Tuesday's edition of The Record.

The numbers he compiled are outstanding.

  • He coached for 30 years and compiled a record of 546 wins and 169 losses (76%).
  • His 546 wins is the most in Section II history and he presently ranks 4th in wins in New York State Public High School history and 13th in New York State basketball history.
  • His teams won 12 Colonial Council Championships (8 consecutive titles ’86- ’93) had a record of 73-1 in the Colonial Council from January ‘89 to December ’93, which included an overall 43-game winning streak from December ’90 to February ’92.
  • His teams won 14 Sectional championships (13 Class "CC" and 1 Class "B"), 6 Class "CC-C" and 5 Regional championships, 5 State Final-Four berths, and 2 State Final Championship Games.
  • His teams never had a losing season or lost a 1st round sectional game in 30 years.
  • In 1991, his teams finished with a record of 28-0, won the New York State Public High School "Class C" and the Federation "Class C" State titles. Watervliet is the only Section II team to win both titles in the same year.
  • George was inducted into the New York State Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame on March 24, 2007.
  • He taught 35 years of social studies at the junior high school level before retiring.
  • George Mardigan was a two-year captain of the basketball and soccer teams at Hudson Valley Community College, where he is a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame.
  • He led the Vikings to a Region III soccer championship in 1962.
  • Mardigan was named to the All-Conference and All-Region III teams for basketball and was a Region III Tournament All Star and the team’s Most Valuable Player.
  • He was given the Thomas Cahill Award in 1963 as the college’s most outstanding male athlete. (Information culled from and
Many of his former players are now coaches themselves, including Andre Cook (Hudson Valley Community College), Brian Fruscio (Albany Academy), Orlando DiBacco (Bishop Maginn) and Walter Bowden and Peter Strand at Watervliet.

"What I experienced as a player was the lifestyle Coach taught us and all of the off-the-court experiences he brought in," Strand said. "Most of us wanted to follow in his footsteps."

Although Strand and Cook have had their successes coaching their own teams, they don't worry about living up to Coach Mardigan's legend - they believe it is impossible.

"Nobody is ever going to be Coach Mardigan or match his personality and style," Strand said. "Coach Bowden and I, our styles and personalities are different, but I think we have the same goals as Coach's goals. Nothing has changed since Coach left as for the way we practice."

"None of us are nearly as good as him," said Cook. "If we’re able to be half as successful as he was, we’ll all have pretty good careers."

A Collar City scuffle is also set for Tuesday night when Troy's girls team invades the CCHS gym in a Big 10 showdown.
Both teams are off to sluggish starts so far and they're hoping to turn it around before Winter break begins.

Christine LaBombard, who has been coaching at CCHS for 21 years, is facing something this year that she's never seen before. Her daughter Carly, a senior, is one of the team's best players.

Carly is averaging 13.7 points per game in the Lady Crusaders' first three games - all loses.
CCHS, however, is due to get Olivia DeMarco back on the court Tuesday night. The 6-foot senior center has signed a letter of intent to play at Division II University of New Haven next year.

"We’ve been playing together since we were freshmen and we’ve been talking about how good we could be as seniors," Carly LaBombard said. "And to go 0-3, it’s just so frustrating."

"They came in here with the high expectations but not with the work ethic to achieve those goals," Christine LaBombard said. "But over the last few weeks of practice, losing three games was an eye-opener. It’s not going to come easy for them. They’re going to have to work for it and we really went back to basics and worked on the little things."

Check out the full story in Tuesday's edition of The Record, along with complete high school basketball standings and power polls.

-- Compiled by Will Montgomery

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Anonymous Michael Cooney said...


My name is Michael Cooney and I'm a former player of George Mardigan. I was a senior at Watervliet the year that he retired. I have immense respect for him and I appreciate everything that he did for me as a coach and mentor. I am starting my own blog at I want to write a piece about Coach Mardigan, my personal experience playing for him and how he helped me become a better person. I was hoping to get permission to use the above photo of him in my story. If you could contact me at I would greatly appreciate it!

May 11, 2016 at 7:58 PM 

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