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Boys' basketball: Port of call no longer hoops court

Varsity - 2010 Season
Posted Thursday, February 25, 2010 by Kyle Ross
Retrieved from Times Herald Record Online

Coach Semerano calling it quits after 32 years; will remain football coordinator.
by Kevin Witt

Times Herald-Record
February 19, 2010

GOSHEN — After 32 years coaching basketball at Port Jervis, Ron Semerano decided "it was just time" to finally give it up.

Semerano spent his first 17 years coaching the girls, including a tremendous 13-year run as the varsity coach. Since the 1995-96 season, he has been with the boys' program, often fighting what seemed like uphill battles against the local big-school basketball powers.

On Wednesday, he coached his final regular-season game — an OCIAA division contest at Goshen. Port Jervis next will play in the Section 9 Class A tournament, for the fifth time in Semerano's 15 years.

The postseason is not taken for granted at Port Jervis, where basketball likely never will take over for football as the school's primary sport.

But Port Jervis has enjoyed more success recently on the court, qualifying for the sectional tournament in three of the last five years.

When the state expanded to five classes in 2004, Port Jervis remained in Class A, allowing it to avoid regular-season games with Newburgh and Kingston, which moved up to Class AA. That also kept those bigger schools out of Port Jervis' sectional tournament.

"I like working with the kids. I'm going to miss that," said Semerano, whose boys' team career record is 89-206. His girls' teams went 166-97 and won three sectional titles.

"I like going to practice. I like preparing for practice. I'm also going to miss the camaraderie with the other coaches. Basketball coaches are very much a solid unit. They're willing to help, and I'm going to miss that, too."

Semerano will continue to teach health for at least another year, probably two. He will remain as a varsity football offensive coordinator. Brian Rollman, the boys' jayvee coach the last 13 years, appears to be the leading candidate for Semerano's basketball job.

On coach Ron Semerano ...

"He's always so prepared. Our practices are very structured, and he always does such a good job of breaking down the other team's offense. He was at Monroe-Woodbury on Saturday to see Rondout Valley, just in case we somehow get matched up against them in the sectional tournament. He's always watching film. He'll go home and watch our games the night after we played. Then the next day, he'll have everything all broken down.

"What people don't see is the number of kids he has impacted academically. He spends as much time working with them on their school work, or keeping them out of trouble, than he does on the court. There are kids who never would have graduated if Ronnie wasn't pushing them."

— long-time assistant George Rollman, who coached with Semerano in the boys' and girls' programs

"It's kind of unique because Ron and I coached against each other in the 1980s, when we were both coaching girls.

"One thing is that whenever you played Ron, his teams are always well-prepared. He's always out there scouting and videotaping. Back in the 1980s, we used to be the only ones out there, but I think that's changed drastically in the girls' game since then.

"As competitive as Ronnie is, he has a great perspective on high school athletics. He understood that if he could get his kids to compete to the best of their abilities, then they were successful on that night."

— Cornwall boys' basketball coach Tom Howe

"He's a great person. He was actually my health teacher two years ago, as a sophomore. He moved me up that year to play in sections. He's an all-around good person.

"He's not a hard person, but he can be on the basketball court, but that's just to basically push us and make us play harder.

"When we played Liberty the second time, at home, he encouraged me to keep playing the way I was playing. A couple of my shots weren't falling, and he told me to keep working at it, keep playing and that they would eventually fall. He didn't yell. He just sat me down and talked with me, and he was right. I came out the high scorer in that game and we won."

— Port Jervis senior guard Jarrod Livingston

"Despite our lackluster team records throughout the years, Ron Semerano really cared about his players. We may not have been division champs or conference contenders, but we always played hard.

"After the seniors graduated each year, Ron would prepare a collage of each senior and present it following the season. It was a very thoughtful action that really helped to solidify the memories each player had throughout their career.

"He was always available to talk about basketball and life in general anytime. During my time as a Port Jervis basketball player, Ron was both my coach and my teacher. By having this dual role he was able to teach me a lot about topics both on and off the court. I'm grateful for the lessons he taught me and I will not forget the time I spent playing basketball under him."

— former player John Grogan, a 2006 grad

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