After 28 years, Hampton boys basketball will have a new coach

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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | 10:22 AM


For the first time in 28 years, Hampton boys basketball will have a new coach after longtime leader Joe Lafko retired with nearly three decades at Hampton under his belt.

Hampton will turn the program over to a former player under Lafko. Joe Cangilla, 35, was a standout basketball and football player during his time at Hampton. He took his football talents to Duquesne, where he played wide receiver.

Despite the talent on the gridiron, Cangilla decided to get into coaching on the hardwood after college. He started out as a seventh grade basketball coach before transferring to Northgate High School, where he was coach from 2016-20.

After that, Cangilla returned to Hampton and had been an assistant coach under Lafko since 2020. Cangilla has been a teacher in the Hampton School District for 11 years.

Cangilla also has helped out with the Hampton track and football teams.

He is feeling good about the direction the program is moving.

“I’m excited to lead this program and to expand it even greater than before,” Cangilla said.

The Talbots, who graduated seven seniors from this past season, will have to rely on many of the players who were on Cangilla’s JV team last season.

Cangilla says he expects big things from his seniors this upcoming season, Griffin Jarrell and Brandon Grossman.

There also is a slew of rising juniors ready to take advantage of their opportunity. They include Andrew Butler, Gavin Guinn, Zack Danner and Luke Claus.

Hampton made it to the WPIAL championship game and PIAA semifinal but lost to Lincoln Park both times.

Two of Hampton’s star players from this past season are going to be playing basketball at Division I schools.

Peter Kramer, a 6-foot-5 guard, will play in the Eastern part of the state at Lehigh. His teammate, 6-9 Liam Mignogna, will walk on at Pitt later this fall.

Expectations are high for Cangilla in 2024-25.

“There should be expectations,” he said. “Hampton basketball has been in the playoffs for the last 20 years.”

Even though being a coach can be a stressful job, Cangilla said this is something he has been wanting to do.

“This has definitely been my dream job for a long time, being around Hampton for so many years,” Cangilla said.

That dream job has been one of the more coveted ones in the region, considering Hampton has had only two other coaches in the last five decades.

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