Bethel Park hires former WPIAL basketball star Dante Calabria as boys coach

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022 | 1:12 AM


Dante Calabria, a former WPIAL basketball star who won a national championship at North Carolina, was hired Tuesday as boys coach at Bethel Park.

A 1992 Blackhawk graduate and WPIAL Hall of Fame inductee, Calabria has coached at the college, professional and prep school levels, most recently as an assistant at Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla. He also played 16 professional seasons overseas in Italy, Spain, Greece and France.

“His resume speaks for itself,” Bethel Park athletic director Dan Sloan said. “It’s exciting to be able to show our kids a guy who came from around this area and made it to where he made it, played at a big-time Division I college under legendary coaches, played professionally and then moved up through the coaching ranks.”

Calabria played for Dean Smith at North Carolina, but Smith isn’t the only legendary coach on his resume. Calabria was an assistant on Larry Brown’s staff in Italy’s Lega Basket Serie A and previously assisted the late Rollie Massimino at Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“He was a part of a couple coaching trees of legendary guys,” Sloan said.

Sloan said Calabria’s parents still reside in Beaver County and he returned to Western Pennsylvania to spend more time with family.

As Bethel Park’s coach, Calabria replaces Josh Bears, who resigned after seven seasons. The Black Hawks went 16-7 overall last season, 5-5 in Section 2, and reached the first round of the WPIAL Class 6A playoffs.

The team drops to 5A next season.

Sloan said the school received around two dozen applicants for the job.

“We had some good candidates to choose from including some sitting head coaches,” he said.

Calabria will be paid $8,700. Sloan said Calabria now was in the process of completing the required paperwork.

“As soon as that’s complete, we expect him to be in the gym ready to go,” he said. “Him and I already talked about some summer leagues and getting the kids involved.”

Calabria was a 2,200-point scorer at Blackhawk and was inducted into the WPIAL Hall of Fame in 2014. At North Carolina, the 6-foot-5 guard won an NCAA championship in 1993 and also reached the Final Four in ’95.

As a professional player, Calabria was a five-time all-star in Europe and also played for a Italian national team that won the 2005 European Championship.

Among his early coaching stops, Calabria was an assistant coach at UNC Wilmington, head coach at Cus Jonico Taranto of the Italian Basketball League and coach at Montverde Academy, a prep school in Florida.

Calabria joined Massimino as an assistant at Keiser and later replaced him as head coach. Calabria led Keiser to a 20-11 record and an appearance in the NAIA Tournament. He later worked with another championship coach when he joined Brown’s staff in Italy.

Massimino won an NCAA title with Villanova in 1985. Brown won both NCAA and NBA titles.

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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