MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. Longtime Mount Vernon High basketball coach Bob Cimmino isn't letting tight budgets get him down as he nears his 19th season as the most successful coach in the program's legendary history.
"We have a full summer of camps where the players work as counselors, and we're hanging in there," Cimmino said. "We do whatever we can to give our kids opportunities to learn the game."
Several years ago, budget problems nearly closed the high school's basketball program.
Cimmino has coached his Knights to six straight Section 1 Class AA championships and 11 of the last 12 local area titles since taking over as head coach in 1993. He has also won five state championships, including one in March.
And he still loves the day-to-day action the game provides local kids.
"We do a lot with our summer camps," says Cimmino, who began coaching Little League and youth basketball nearly 30 years ago. "We have speakers come in and talk about all kinds of subjects that help young people understand they need to get a good education and basketball is a part of that."
Part of Cimmino's work in the community over three decades has been to help fund baseball and basketball programs. Budget cuts have forced the Knights to go out into the community to raise money. This year's fundraiser is a golf tournament set for Oct. 8.
"People can go onto our website and sign up for sponsorships and to play golf with us," Cimmino said. "We really appreciate all the help the community has given us over the years."
Cimmino's coaching skills and success on the court are complemented by his focus on his players' education. His teams have produced dozens of college players and several NBA players, including Ben Gordon. Former Knights have gone on to success in a variety of professions. Several have become educators and coaches.
For more information on Mount Vernon Basketball and the upcoming Mount Vernon Knights Inaugural Golf Classic, log on to the program's website.
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