Ken Dagostino has been the Colonie varsity boys basketball coach since 2014. Prior to taking over the Colonie program, he was the varsity coach at Mohonasen for nine years, leading the team to a Section II, Class A championship in 2011. Before Mohonasen he was an assistant at Guilderland where he was also the co-founder & president of the Guilderland Basketball Club of the Capital District Youth Basketball League and Guilderland Gorillas Amateur Athletic Union team. He began his coaching career as the junior varsity coach at Poultney High School in Vermont, followed as an assistant coach at Schenectady County Community College, the varsity coach at Duanesburg High School, and freshmen coach at Guilderland. After graduating from Mohonasen, he played college basketball at SUNY Cobleskill and Castleton State University.
Q: You’ve been coaching basketball for a long time. How has the game and/or players changed since you first got started?
A: It has changed a lot. In no particular order, some I agree with and others I definitely do not: The game is faster, offensive priority over defense, players are more athletic and have specialized skill sets, AAU has exploded, prep school and transfer options are more readily available, trainers, parental expectation of involvement, shot clock, understanding the pyramid of competition to be a very good high school player, alternating possession, advice from ‘experts’ on what it takes to play at the next level whether it be junior college or division 1, limiting players to be one-sport athletes, three-point shot, work ethic vs. playing ethic, playing games or working on your game, getting exposure or being exposed, ‘me’ often exceeds ‘we,’ the value and life learning experiences of playing high school basketball, following the game plan, overall level of respect — or lack thereof — appreciation and respect of referees, respect for your opponent, overcoming adversity, a four-month season is now almost year round, email and texting rather than face-to-face meetings, learning to play at the park rather than everything having to be organized, trophies for all, earning playing time, being happy for the success of someone else’s child, coaching from the stands, acceptance of constructive critique, trust, letting coaches just do their job and coach, and I could go on and on and on … Maybe I should write a book.
Q: A coach, obviously, teaches fundamentals and plays but what else do you try to instill in your players?
A: Accountability, dependability, and responsibility, to themselves, their teammates, families, our program, and to the South Colonie Central School District, during the season, and throughout the year. Especially for our seniors, it’s important for us to help them recognize, appreciate, and make the most of the many opportunities Colonie has provided them. They need to understand it’s their last hurrah, to compete hard in both practice and games, have fun, leave with no ‘would of, could of or should ofs.’ By their own actions, we want them to develop lifelong memories and friendships that they will always be proud of as a Garnet Raider basketball alumnus.
Q: You have dedicated a good portion of your life to basketball. Why hoops instead of football or baseball or any other sport?
A: Great question, really makes me think. I guess there’s no particular reason. Basketball was just the sport I really loved and truly enjoyed playing, same as I still enjoy coaching very much, especially at Colonie.
Q: What characteristics are found in all good athletes regardless of the sport or their ability?
A: I would like to rephrase this and say that as a coach, “character” is what you hope for, look for, admire, and appreciate most in athletes, regardless of their ability or the sport, it’s a very special trait that all players do not automatically have. Your athletes either have character or they don’t, the more character in your program the better. Character as a whole usually defines your team, your team room, and the success of your season and program on and off the court.
Q: Who is your favorite basketball player and/or team of all time — pro, college or high school?
A: No. 44. Pete Maravich. I was fortunate as a teenager to have the opportunity to spend a week in New Orleans with my parents when ‘Pistol Pete’ was playing for the Jazz. My dad was friends with one of the local newspaper sports editors and they had a connection to the Jazz front office. We went to four games when they played at Loyola University and the Memorial Auditorium, prior to them playing in the Superdome. Our seats were courtside, and I was invited into the locker room twice to meet with and speak to Maravich after the games. Needless to say, it was quite an impressionable experience, with a lot of photos and autographed memorabilia.
If you would like to see someone featured in our Five Questions contact Jim Franco at [email protected] or 518-878-1000.