By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck High’s new girls basketball coach has deep roots when it comes to the hardwood in the borough.
Adam Purcaro, a Naugatuck resident and former Naugy basketball player, has been named the Greyhounds’ new coach.
“The support that has been shown by the community is very humbling,” Purcaro said. “I’m looking to enhance relationships between the players and the parents; that is coaching 101.”
Purcaro’s basketball roots run deep. Before playing for Naugy, he came up through the Naugatuck YMCA’s Little Pal basketball program, and has been a volunteer coach in the program. For the past six years, he has run a clinic with Little Pal that integrated academics with basketball.
“I think that is what I bring to the table with the experience I gained at Little Pal,” Purcaro said. “A lot of the girls on the varsity team have come through the Little Pal system, so I already know the players and the parents.”
Purcaro, a manager with the real estate, mortgage and insurance company William Raveis, said he has three goals that he feels are important.
First, Purcaro said, he wants everyone to embrace their role and be 200% committed to the team’s success. He also wants to see every player on the honor roll. He said life is much bigger than basketball and doesn’t want to put success on the court above academics.
“Last, but not least, I want to win the NVL championship,” he said. “We have a very talented and experienced team coming back and we will be prepared to compete.”
Purcaro succeeds Gail Cheney, who resigned as coach in May. In three seasons, Cheney led the Greyhounds to a 51-19 record.
“I certainly have some big shoes to fill with the incredible foundation that Gail created over the past three seasons,” Purcaro said. “My DNA is uplifting, positive, being open and honest. I believe if you have confidence in yourself that you can overcome anything.”
Naugatuck finished last season 15-7 and lost in the first round of the Class L state tournament. Juniors Sara Macary, an All-NVL player, and Kaylee Jackson, an All-Iron Division player, lead a young and talented returning roster.
“Going into the season being led by Kaylee Jackson and Sara Macary has me very optimistic about what this team can achieve,” Purcaro said. “I’m certainly looking forward to the challenge and I know the girls are as well.”
Assistant coach Karl Evangelista, who has been around through the Jodie Burns, Ron Plasky and Gail Cheney eras, will be a huge help for the first-time varsity head coach.
“I have spoken to Karl and he is on board,” Purcaro said. “He has been with the program since Jodie Burns and will be a huge asset.”
Purcaro will have a lot support at home as well with his daughter, Alexis, and girlfriend, Carla Cerullo.
“I have been coaching my daughter since she was five years old. … She realizes I won’t be there on the front lines coaching her anymore, but she is really excited, and so are her friends, in cheering on the Greyhounds this season,” he said.
“My girlfriend, Carla, knows I give 200 percent and she understands I will be frequently out of the house from November through March,” he added. “She will be holding down the fort while being the team mom and supporting the Greyhounds anyway she can.”