Rich Castellano was conducting practice the day before Northport’s quarterfinal game against Copiague when he was interrupted to take a phone call. The Northport coach doesn’t take phone calls during practice and was upset to be disturbed before being told it was one he should take.
At that time, Castellano was informed he is the Russell Athletic/WBCA National High School Coach of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
“I was shocked,” Castellano said. “It’s a very nice honor. I really appreciate it. I didn’t realize how big it is. I have been getting a lot of phone calls.”
Castellano has won 545 games in 32 seasons as head coach at Northport. The Tigers have won 25 league titles, 11 Suffolk county championships, six Long Island titles, and have reached the state finals twice.
The Tigers went 19-1 this season, losing it first game in the quarterfinals to Copiague. Castellano was inducted into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame two years ago.
Castellano will coach the white team in the WBCA High School All-America Game on Saturday April 2 at 4:30 p.m. at The Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
“It’s a major honor,” Castellano said.
Castellano retired as a math teacher at the end of the 2010 school year. He said he will coach next season.