By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The “Getting to Know” series is designed to help the community learn more about the coaches and administrators that are guiding today’s Portage County student-athletes to be tomorrow’s leaders.
Today, we get to know Streetsboro High School boys basketball head coach Nick Marcini, who is in his 19th year coaching the Rockets and 13th year as the program’s head coach.
Q: What schools did you attend growing up?
A: Wait Elementary, Streetsboro Middle School and Streetsboro High School (Class of 1997).
A: Walsh University (Class of 2002). Degree in Middle Childhood Education, specializing in science and social studies.
Q: Current occupation?
A: 7th grade history teacher at Streetsboro Middle School.
Q: What inspired you to become a coach?
A: All my coaches I had growing up and later in the game. Rick Bailey and Greg Gilbert, who were my position coaches at Walsh University.
Q: What makes being a coach at Streetsboro special to you?
A: Growing up here, teaching and coaching here my entire career makes it special. Obviously, my family and I are very invested in the community and the kids. It’s great to watch how much the community has grown over the last 30-plus years.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence as a coach?
A: I’ve been fortunate to have coached under — and have been surrounded by — some pretty great people throughout my 20 years as a coach. Bruce Thomas, John Arles, Todd Muckleroy, John Harris, Stephen Laird, Todd Van Reeth, Phil Starks, Rocky Orr. That’s not all of them. All have helped shape who I am as a coach.
Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your playing days?
A: Senior year football: Thursday night before our Homecoming game vs. Garfield. All the guys met up at the school to TP the cheerleaders’ houses, which was a school tradition. Well, that turned into let’s smash pumpkins in Garfield’s parking lot. Cooler heads prevailed, and we talked ourselves out of doing that, but we already had five truckloads of pumpkins from one of our teammates’ yard, who had a pumpkin patch. So, of course, one of the groups started chucking pumpkins out of their truck and into our own parking lot. I just so happened to leave my car in the parking lot and rode with another guy. By the time I got to my car, everyone smashed all their pumpkins and took off. Guess who was cleaning up pumpkins until 2 a.m.? Luckily, I had some good teammates that came back and helped out.
Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your coaching career?
A: 2016-17 season: Home vs. Crestwood. Great game. (Crestwood’s) Jordan Fabry is hitting shots all over the place. He and (Streetsboro’s) Keshun Jones both had over 30 points. (Streetsbro’s) Nehemiah Benson was close (to 30). The gym was packed. It got a little animated on the sidelines in the second quarter. I squatted down and split my pants. I mean, completely. I tried to send my wife home to get a new pair so I could change at halftime. It didn’t work out. I coached the rest of the game like that. And, of courser, the game was too good to stay seated the whole time.
Q: Favorite TV show?
A: So many. Probably The Sopranos. More recently, it was Game of Thrones and Yellowstone and all the spinoffs.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: The Godfather and anything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Q: Favorite musical artist?
A: Antying from the 90’s.
Q: Favorite food or meal?
A: Any pizza or pasta; my wife’s pork chops or a nice steak.
Q: Best vacation?
A: My wife was able to get two-and-a-half weeks off during the summer of 2019. We drove to Orlando and took the kids to Sea World for a day. We left there and drove to meet my wife’s cousin in Anna Maria Island. Spent the day there at the beach. We left there and drove to Jupiter and spent the rest of the week there at her uncle’s. We drove from Jupiter to North Myrtle Beach and spent a week there with my family. It was awesome. The Great Smoky Mountains trip last summer was very cool, too.
Q: Favorite motto or quote?
A: “There are no victories at bargain prices.” — Dwight Eisenhower.
Q: Describe your coaching philosophy?
A: Attitude, effort, toughness and accountability.
Q: What does it mean to be a Rockets student-athlete?
A: Hard working, self-driven, respectful, winner.
Q: Favorite restaurant?
A: Umberto’s in North Myrtle Beach (or any really good Italian food).
Q: Favorite teacher from high school?
A: Ahhh, so many. Ken Stoner, Larry Marek, Jerry Judd, Bob Long, JJ Huber, Gary Huber, Greg Cielec, Will O’Donnell, just to name a few.
Q: Advice you would give the younger version of yourself?
A: Get better grades and hit the weight room.
Q: Favorite coach from your playing days?
A: Again, so many. The group of guys I mentioned above and add Tom Fesemyer, Tom Pollock, Terry Peterson, John Keegan and Dave Hostetler.
Q: Coaching resume?
A: Streetsboro High School boys basketball, 19th season (5 years as JV coach, 1 as varsity assistant, 13 years as head coach). I also coached one year of 8th grade football and was on the varsity football staff for six years. I coached my daughter’s AAU teams in the spring the last few years as well.
Q: Favorite sports teams?
A: Browns, Cavs, Guards and Buckeyes.
Q: Favorite athlete then?
A: Michael Jordan.
Q: Favorite athlete now?
A: Nick Chubb.
Q: First job as a teenager?
A: Stocking coolers at my cousin’s sandwich shop, The Sandwich King, in Oakwood Village.
Q: Family member that always gave you the best advice?
A: Mom and dad.
Q: Halloween costume last year?
A: Michael Myers.
Q: Favorite video game?
A: Tecmo Bowl and Mike Tyson’s Punch Out.
Q: First car?
A: 1989 Buick LeSabre.
Q: Shoutout to former teammates?
A: Matt Cipra, Danny Burkett, John Riley, Vaughn Dennison, Nate Takacs, Nick Buleski, Bobby Miller, Joey Bernardo, Dusty Bukeski.
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