Mongelli returns to Hammond

April 29, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

After a nine-year hiatus, Mike Mongelli has returned as Hammond's boys varsity basketball coach.

Mongelli, 51, was expected to get the job after Jack Burke resigned last month, but it wasn't official until yesterday.

He inherits a team that struggled last season. It lost its last nine games and finished 6-16. Its two star players were dismissed from the team toward the end of the season and one transferred to another school.

But the team has been successful over the past nine years, compiling a 133-78 record and winning a county title in 1993.

"We'll be young next year and I think we're probably a year away from being competitive in the county, but look for us in two years," Mongelli said.

Mongelli was Hammond's first basketball coach when the school opened in 1976, and his teams compiled a 103-79 record through 1985 when he stepped down.

"He's a fresh face but not a new face and I'm really happy to have Mike," Hammond principal Marshall Peterson said. "He knows his X's and O's and the fine points of the game, and because he's basically a street kid from Brooklyn [N.Y.] he understands kids."

His teams won Howard County titles in 1982 and 1983. The 1983 team went 25-1 and was the first county team to win a state championship.

It featured Terry and Perry Dozier, both of whom transferred to Dunbar then went on to play at the University of South Carolina. Terry Dozier now plays professional basketball in Australia.

The 1983 team also had Terry Scott, who went on to become the second all-time leading scorer at Franklin and Marshall and a Division III All-American.

Another player on that team, freshman Quinton Burton, later had a fine career at Providence and played professionally in Switzerland.

Mongelli started his coaching career in 1968-69 as an assistant at Cardinal Gibbons. He was an assistant at Catonsville Community College in 1970. He was head coach at Pallotti in 1971. And he was an assistant coach at UMBC in 1972-73.

"I felt that as a physical education teacher I had an obligation to coach a sport," Mongelli said.

Ernie Robeson will be Mongelli's assistant coach. The school is in the process of hiring a junior-varsity coach.

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