Severna Park, Chesapeake stick close to home with new coaches


June 13, 1993|By PAT O'MALLEY

Community involvement and a background with successful programs apparently are becoming the prerequisites in hiring county coaches, at least for boys basketball.

In the past week, Severna Park and Chesapeake filled boys head coaching positions with two men who live in the community of their respective schools. Both inherit programs that have been down.

Paul Pellicani was named the Severna Park coach, and John Spinnenweber, a county assistant and former head coach, takes over at Chesapeake.

Pellicani moved to the county from New England about four years ago and has gotten involved in the Green Hornets program in Severna Park with his two sons, 12-year-old Nicholas and 9-year-old Benjamin.

"My wife, Lisa, and I love it here," said Pellicani. "We are as happy here as we were in Maine."

The new Falcons coach wants to really get involved and has scheduled a "Meet the Coach Night" at the Severna Park High media center at 7 p.m. Tuesday and invited all Severna Park parents.

Pellicani had an outstanding career (135-18) at Maine Central Institute, a prep school, sending 46 players to the Division I level, including three All-Americans.

"I hope to keep the top local players right here in Severna Park," said Pellicani, referring to the school having lost several outstanding players to private and Catholic schools in recent years.

His involvement and knowledge of the Severna Park community and its potential appealed to Falcons athletic director Andy Borland and school officials.

The same can be said of Spinnenweber, a native of the Chesapeake community. Two of his brothers, Carl and Bobby, )) both wrestlers, graduated from Chesapeake. He graduated from Northeast but always has lived in the Lake Shore-Pasadena area.

"I live in the community and am aware that it is a good athletic area because I have gotten involved in the local youth programs," said Spinnenweber.

Knowing the community and its kids was vital in the decisions by Cougars athletic director Al Grau and principal Harry Calendar.

"He's one of us and has been in successful programs," said Grau.

Spinnenweber was 32-18 in two years as coach at Archbishop Spalding, had a winning record in one season as Navy's JV coach under Paul Evans (now at Pitt) and has been an assistant to Ken Kazmarek at Broadneck High since 1987.

Both new coaches are used to winning and know they can be successful by keeping neighborhood kids at home. Each is young, Pellicani 37 and Spinnenweber 33, but a veteran in basketball knowledge.

Look for high energy from both that should really pump up their communities. They will get involved by offering youth clinics and possibly summer camps to improve the caliber of play in their communities. Also, both have missed being a head coach.

"After watching my boys play in the Green Hornets program, I got to work with the older kids one day and went home that night telling my wife how much I enjoyed it and how much I wanted to do it again," said Pellicani.

"Coaching is like riding a bike. You never forget, and I realized how much I missed it 15 months ago. I am aware of the overall success of the Severna Park athletic program and want to become part of it and make my contribution in basketball."

Pellicani says there are "a lot of hungry people out there coaching basketball, hungry to learn the game, and that's why I plan to hold coaching clinics and send out news letters to the community coaches. There is great potential in Severna Park."

Spinnenweber sees the same potential in the Lake Shore area and espouses many of the same ideas, although Chesapeake never has had a winning boys basketball season since opening in 1976.

"I became a head coach at a very young age [22 at Spalding] and have missed being the head man while learning a lot with Kenny [Kazmarek]," said Spinnenweber.

"It won't happen overnight, but I'm confident that the kids will accept the challenge and we will eventually have winning seasons."

One thing to keep in mind is that neither school has overemphasized winning, but rather have presented their kids with more than a chance to be successful.

Chesapeake and Severna Park both made excellent decisions this week, Not only will the two new members of the local basketball fraternity take their programs to another level, but the county basketball program will be better for it as well.

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