Going back to his days as a JV coach, Nick Augelli remembers some of Crosby’s varsity games against Harding.
“They would destroy us. They would be running on all cylinders,” Augelli recalled from the glory days of the Presidents.
Many years have passed, and Augelli, 70, is now is in is 38th season as head coach at Crosby.
“He was one of the first to use those pressing defenses, doubling the ball and just running all over the court. He was an innovator,” Augelli said about the former Harding coach Charlie Bentley. “And he was a disciplinarian. If you talked back to Bentley, you’d be gone in a second.”
Last Wednesday, when Crosby defeated Waterbury Career, Augelli passed Bentley into second place all-time in CIAC history with 656 victories. Two of those wins came against Bentley and Harding in the state tournament in 2004 and 2008, respectively.
Bentley won the other two matchups, also in state tournament play, in 1986 and 1994.
Augelli won his 600th game in the opening round of the 2014 Class LL state tournament. He had lost track of since who he could pass on the wins list – until he came across a recent article highlighting Trinity Catholic coach Mike Walsh’s 600th victory last month.
“We got off to a rocky start and we got beat pretty handily in some games,” Augelli said of his 12-5 team. “I told one of my assistants, ‘The way things are going, we’re not going to make the NVL tournament.’”
The win over Waterbury Career was the fourth straight for the Bulldogs before they ran into that NVL juggernaut Sacred Heart, and hung tough before falling 72-65 Saturday night.
So Augelli needs 222 more wins to catch the all-time leader, former St. Joseph coach Vito Montelli. He can do it, right?
“No way, no how,” he said. As long as Augelli remains healthy, and longtime assistant coaches Larry DeVito and Billy Mahoney stay by his side, he has no certain timetable to step away from coaching.
There were two other notable coaching milestones last week. Jake Palluzzi won his 300th game at Branford and is just five away from No. 350 overall.
And in that 72-65 win for Sacred Heart, it was the 200th victory for Hearts’ coach Jon Carroll.