When high school senior Luke Destefano is coaching his little brother in PVYB, great things happen. Luke has always loved to play and watch sports, but to Luke, playing and watching was not enough for him. He decided to take on a whole new level of the game of basketball, coaching. Better yet, coaching his little brother in PVYB and leading the team to a championship.
Coaching a family member is unique.
“ It was definitely an interesting experience to say the least,” Luke said. “Everyone has different coaching styles and I’m more of a laid back and relaxed coach, but for whatever reason, I was very hard and aggressive when coaching my brother because I expect the most out of him.”
Luke’s younger brother Zack thrived from the more aggressive coaching from his brother.
“I realize that all Luke wants to see is for me to be the best player I possibly can,” Zack said. “He will give me a little bit of extra criticism than my teammates but nothing that I can’t handle.”
When it came down to the day of the PVYB championship game, Luke made sure to keep the team calm.
“For me it was no different than any other game, I tried to relay that message to my players so they stayed under control and did not let the bright lights and large crowd get to them. Once you get to a big game like that, the only thing left to do is execute your game just as you have done all year.”
At the sound of the buzzer and the eruption of the crowd, the championship was underway.
“I was a little nervous to be playing in the championship, but having Luke on the bench coaching made me feel a lot more confident to go out there and do my thing,” Zack said.
Luke, having played in a championship game and winning prior to this title run, knew exactly what to say to his team and how to lead them to victory. He did just that. The final buzzer went off and they were crowned PVYB champions, one of the highest honors of a youth sports team. “I will never forget that day or that team. It was a very fun group of people to play with surrounded by an awesome coaching staff,” Zack said.
“I was very proud of the boys that day. They kept their composure and took care of business like they did consistently that entire season. As a coach that is all you can really ask for,” Luke said.
Assistant coach Anthony Fallon also had a brother on that team. “Coaching alongside Luke was a very fun experience, especially being able to win a championship together,” Fallon said.
“I have learned a lot from coaching,” Luke said. “But I think the most important thing is patience. Throughout the year, the team goes through many ups and downs but the one thing you need to have through it all is patience.”
Luke does not plan to stop coaching anytime soon. “I plan to coach Zack all the way until he graduates. Who knows, maybe we can bring home a few more PVYB championships on the way.”