Gloversville native Ryan Pettit started the 2013-14 high school basketball season off by picking up his 100th varsity coaching victory at Columbia Preparatory School in Manhattan.
He finished it off with another honor, as Pettit was selected the Private School Coach of the Year by the Basketball Coaches Association of New York.
"It is a pretty cool thing," Pettit said. "It is great accomplishment for our program at Columbia and shows the kids that their hard work and dedication to the program pays off."
Ryan Pettit, center, a Gloversville graduate and the boys basketball coach at Columbia Preparatory School, was recently selected the Private School Coach of the Year by the Basketball Coaches Association of New York. (Photo submitted)
Pettit, a 1996 graduate of Gloversville High School, guided the Lions to the New York City Athletic League championship and reaching the semifinals of the New York State Association of Independent Schools before falling to top-seeded and eventual winner Rye Country Day School, 96-78.
"We won nine of our last 10 games," Pettit said. "That was huge for us. They say you want to be playing your best at the end of the year, and we were. We play a style where we push the ball up court and fast break a lot; however, I would not call it a run-and-gun type of offense. We do go 15 deep on the bench because of the style of play."
Pettit has brought his team north to his home town the past few years to participate in the annual holiday basketball tournament.
This year, the Lions came in with a 6-0 record but were soundly defeated by the host Gloversville Dragons, 103-70, in the opening round.
"I don't like to lose, and it is not an excuse, but we had a week off without practice before that game," Pettit said. "But that loss did the team some good as it served as a wake-up call. When we got back home, the next two weeks at practice were great, and we went on to win our league."
The 35-year-old Pettit, who coached Columbia Prep to a 2011 state championship, said that growing up and going to school in Gloversville helped him develop community values with his team and at the school.
"It is easy to draw parallels between Gloversville and Columbia Prep," he said. "The city is like the big thing, but Columbia Prep is like its own little community on 93rd Street. I think that is why I have been so drawn to it. It has a small-town environment on 93rd Street. I think, even on the island of Manhattan, where it feels very different than Gloversville, the values a town and a community like Gloversville instills in you work here. That is what I try to bring to my community now, which is Columbia Prep. It is a different world, but I think the value system is still the same and that has been a big part of our success."