NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A high school basketball coach in Queens celebrated a historic win Tuesday night.
Coach Ron Naclerio beamed with pride after the Benjamin Cardozo High School basketball team propelled him to his 800th career win.
“Most wins in New York City public school high school history. Most wins New York State public school history,” the proud coach said.
Naclerio has been coaching at the Bayside school for 38 years.
“First time I met him was in eight grade. He inspired me to take basketball seriously,” junior Alex Maminakis said.
Naclerio says when he went to high school here, some 40 years ago, his basketball coach saw something the future coach didn’t recognize in himself. He’s been trying to inspire his own students the same way every season since.
“I’ve had four in the NBA, but I’ve also had 40, 50, 60, 100, 150 that’ve become stars in the game of life,” the coach told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
Naclerio’s old office was a shrine to decades of his players’ wins and successes, but administrators pushed him to a smaller room this fall.
“You’re involved in their lives. Their girlfriends, their academic lives… Their problems become my problems and for 38 years I’ve tried to help them with their problems,” Naclerio explained.
That dedication goes both ways.
“This is a brotherhood,” senior Coby Farington said.
“I don’t have any biological family, but I’m lucky I do have a Cardozo family that keeps me going,” the longtime coach added.
He isn’t about to let his team or himself get too comfortable however, they’ll start training for win number 801 on Wednesday.