JOHNSTOWN?- The opening day of the high school winter sports season marked the start of a new era for the Johnstown Sir Bills basketball team.
After accepting the position about a month ago, Johnstown graduate and former player Matt Guzielek led the Sir Bills in practice as head coach for the first time Monday morning at Johnstown High School.
"I don't think it is nerves; it is more excitement than anything else," Guzielek said before leading Monday's practice. "I have been looking forward to this day since we found out about a month ago. I have been preparing and looking forward to it. I know these guys are ready to go and came in here ready to play."
Matt Guzielek talks with members of the Johnstown Sir Bills varsity basketball team on the opening day of practice Monday at Johnstown High School. Guzielek takes over the varsity coaching position after Scott Hale stepped down to accept an adminstrative position in the school district. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Guzielek, who has coached the Sir Bills at the modified, freshman and junior varsity levels, was appointed to the varsity coaching position after Scott Hale stepped aside to accept an administrative position in the school district.
"It is a dream for me as far as being the varsity basketball coach here following in the footsteps of coaches Jack Dunlap, Mike Satterlee and Scott Hale," Guzielek said. "Those are three great coaches and for me to be part of that is the opportunity of a lifetime."
Matt also is following in the footsteps of his grandfather Francis "Fred" Guzielek who coached the Sir Bills from 1962-65 and his uncle and longtime assistant coach Fred Guzielek, who coached the varsity for one game in coach Hale's absence.
"My uncle came out of retirement for one more year to coach the JV and to help guide me a little bit," Matt said. "It is a big help to have someone with his experience and knowledge on the sidelines."
Guzielek said the goal for the upcoming season is simple.
"We want to build on what we had last year," he said. "Obviously last year was a down year for us as far as wins and losses go and I think we will improve on that. I look forward to the challenge. The guys have been working hard during the off season so I think we are going to be ready."
The Sir Bills, who went 2-16 overall last season, will open their season Nov. 27 against Fonda-Fultonville in the opening round of the Broadalbin-Perth Thanksgiving Tip-Off Tournament.