Former Stepinac Basketball player takes Head Job at Canisus Univ.

Posted Tuesday, April 11, 2006 by Mike O'Donnell

Canisius hires former Stepinac star Parrotta

(Original publication: April 11, 2006)

After moving down the bench seat by seat, Tom Parrotta has arrived.

The former Yonkers resident was introduced as head coach of the Canisius men's basketball team yesterday in Buffalo.

"Obviously, it's something in this profession you strive for," Parrotta said last night by phone before heading out for a celebration dinner. "It doesn't come to be for a lot of people.

"I kind of surprised myself. The only reason I looked into the job was because of the familiarity I had with the program and the MAAC. As we got further along in the process, I was like, 'I can do this here,' and I sold them on that."

Parrotta, 39, attended Stepinac with current St. John's assistant Fred Quartlebaum and helped lead the Crusaders to a CHSAA final. The next stop was Fordham University, where he was part of two NIT teams coached by Nick Macarchuk between 1984-88, when the Rams played in the MAAC.

After playing three seasons professionally in Portugal, he got into coaching at Rye and Mamaroneck high schools. Parrotta eventually landed a job at Nazareth College after his mother paid $600 to send him to the Final Four in Charlotte.

Parrotta spent five seasons at Niagara before winding up at Hofstra in 2001. He was chosen over Marshall assistant Bob MacKinnon and West Virginia assistant Jerry Dunn and received a four-year contract, according to Canisius officials.

The job was offered on Sunday.

"It didn't hit me until I was laying in bed that night with my family watching television, and it came across the bottom of the screen," Parrotta said.

Canisius athletic director Bill Maher also reportedly spoke with Iona assistant Nick Macarchuk Jr. about the opening during the Final Four.

Hofstra's Parrotta gets job at Canisus

Newsday Staff Writer

April 11, 2006

Tom Parotta - Stepinac Basketball player Takes Canisus Job!
Good Luck Tom! Stepinac is very proud of you.

Hofstra was able to keep its men's basketball coach in place when other schools wanted him. But the opportunity for its top assistant to run his own program was too much to compete against.

Tom Parrotta, a Hofstra assistant coach for the last five years, was named head coach at Canisius College yesterday. In his career at Hofstra, he worked with the Pride's frontcourt players and was responsible for the offense.

The move returns him to western New York State, where he was a six-year assistant at Niagara (a MAAC school along with Canisius) before coming to Long Island. He'd also spent a season coaching at Nazareth College in Rochester and was influential in recruiting Buffalo-area players Loren Stokes and Chris Gadley to Hofstra.

Parrotta, 39, is a former Fordham player and two-time captain in the late 1980s, when the Rams played in the MAAC. "This is an excellent opportunity for me not only to become a head coach of a first-rate Division I basketball program but to return to the MAAC, a league filled with quality institutions that I'm very familiar with," he said.

Since the season ended last month, Hofstra's status has continued to improve.

George Mason's run to the Final Four made para-celebrities out of the Pride, and Hofstra has been in several early Top 25 polls for the 2006-07 season.

Hofstra also signed coach Tom Pecora to a new five-year contract to keep him from bolting to bigger jobs at Seton Hall or other schools. For Hofstra to now become the vine from which assistants are plucked for head coaching jobs is more evidence of the program's rise in respect.

Pecora said it is bittersweet to have Parrotta leave. "He's done a wonderful job for us," he said, "but he was prepared to be a head coach and the time was right."

Hofstra assistants Van Macon and David Duke are expected to remain with the Pride. Pecora said he will begin searching for a third assistant coach soon. This is the first significant change to the Hofstra coaching staff since Jay Wright left to coach Villanova and Pecora was promoted to head coach five years ago.

West Virginia assistant Jerry Dunn and Marshall assistant Bob MacKinnon were candidates for the Canisius job after Mike MacDonald was fired following his fourth 20-loss season in nine years. Dunn reportedly withdrew his name from consideration last week.