BY MICHAEL KELLY
CLIFTON PARK — After years of preparing to coach at his alma mater, Ryan Losanno is in the midst of his first season at the helm of the Shenendehowa junior varsity boys basketball squad.
Losanno played for the Plainsmen before graduating in 2003. While still in school, he began helping then-JV head coach Sean Hunter guide the squad.
“And, when I graduated, I stayed on as a volunteer assistant and learned a lot from him,” said Losanno, who takes over the JV Plainsmen directly from Hunter.
Since high school, Losanno has graduated from The College of Saint Rose and coached basketball all around the area, leading teams ranging from travel squads for youngsters in elementary school to the JV teams at both Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Waterford-Halfmoon high schools. Now, the 30-year-old Losanno works as a classroom aide at Shenendehowa’s Acadia Middle School.
This past week, Your Clifton Park caught up with Losanno after one of his team’s practices at Arongen Elementary School.
Q: You are a rarity in that you grew up both playing and coaching in your sport. What was it about coaching that made you take to it even when you were in school?
A: Coaching was always really my thing. I like to be around kids and help kids — especially kids that want to work hard and get better. Preparing them for that next level is something I am interested in, and that’s why I want to be a teacher, too.
Q: You’ve coached in the basketball programs for both Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Waterford-Halfmoon. What’s the biggest difference with being back at Shenendehowa?
A: Something new is just how many players and kids there are in Clifton Park — with how big it is and how many kids want to continue to play and be at that next level. Being other places, they were a lot smaller; obviously, there were good players there, but there weren’t so many kids there challenging them for their spots. Here, kids know they have to work hard because they know there’s someone ready to take their spot. . . . Kids, they come here to practice and they bust their butts, and they want to play varsity basketball for [varsity coach Tony] Dzikas.
Q: When you’re not coaching your team, what do you like to do?
A: I love being in the gym, so my free time is I’ll try to catch one of coach Dzikas’ practices and learn from him, or go watch games. I am married — I’ll be married for two years in February — but my wife doesn’t mind; she’ll come to some games with me because she’s great. Besides that, I’m just at home, helping out.