Monday, April 6, 2009

Medved the latest to jump on Section II coaching carousel

If you've ever stepped foot in Eric Medved's seventh grade history classroom in the Tamarac Middle School, this is a familiar image. He made a poster of it, capturing what he calls "his greatest win," a 45-43 come-from-behind triumph over Watervliet and legendary head coach George Mardigan on Dec. 27, 2006.

Medved uses the picture as a lens to explain nearly every facet of his four years as varsity head coach in Clums Corners and it was an especially fitting memory when on Monday, Medved stepped down from his post as Bengals head coach.

With four young children at home, the stress and time commitments involved in scouting opponents, running practices and enduring late-night bus trips through the middle of nowhere in Washington, Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties led Medved to his decision. He missed nearly all of his children's basketball games this winter and he's looking forward to watching and helping to coach his own kids, rather than everybody else's for once.

It's become sort of a sports cliche in recent years as people step away from the games they put so much hard work and effort into - more time with the family. But it the truth across the Capital Region in recent weeks.

Both the Catholic Central boys and girls varsity coaches stepped down to spend more time with younger children or family in far-flung places. Garry Horne, the boys coach at Bishop Gibbons, hung up the sneakers so that he can watch his son play at Guilderland in the coming years. Leslie Bogucki, the girls coach at Albany, said she wants to spend more time with her parents.

And here's where it all comes back to Mardigan. Section II's all-time winningest coach set the bar with lengthy and detailed scouting reports, forcing everyone he was competing with to do the same. With the advances in videotape technology and college scholarships on the line, coaches have to put in more time and energy than ever, making a life at home with the spouse and kids nearly impossible from November to March.

Certainly there was no coach Medved admired more for what he did than Mardigan. In fact, the Cannoneers rattled off a long winning streak following the loss at Tamarac, winning the 2006-07 Section II Class B championship at season's end. He was also quick to thank current Albany Academy head coach Brian Frusico for his influence when Medved served as his assistant at La Salle Institue earlier this decade.

"He managed every part of the program," Medved said. "From the t-shirts the kids wore to the fundraisers, he really inspired me. All of the stuff that it takes to run a great program takes hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours."

"I’ll miss my time with (assistant coach) Chuck Hunt, the players and the cheerleaders," Medved said. "I always felt like a warrior running through the line before the game. I’ll cherish those experiences, especially when we had the whole crowd on its feet."

Every day he walks into his classroom, he's reminded of the time he made up 10 points in the fourth quarter against George Mardigan. And he also thought of all the youth games he missed the past few years, making the decision that much tougher.

"That poster reminds me every day," Medved said. "For a kid like me, who was not a great player, to come forward and coach a varsity team, it’s a dream come true."

Medved's four years at Tamarac:
05-06: 12-9
06-07: 6-15
07-08: 14-8
08-09: 17-5 * best record in school history

(Previous four seasons, 2002-05, 8-74)

* Reached Section II Class B quarterfinal round in 2008 and 2009
* Won at least five non-league tournament titles
* Saw six players listed on All-Wasaren League teams
* Coached four Wasaren League vs Patroon Conference All-Star games

We'll have the full story in The Record soon, so keep your eyes open for that.

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Blogger Louie Monkey-Pest said...

Sad to see him go. Medved was one of those coaches who wasn't in it for the paycheck but to make his players better. Those types of coaches are few and far between these days.

April 12, 2009 at 6:53 PM 
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