Mike Iuzzolino takes over Sewickley Academy boys basketball program

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Sunday, May 26, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Altoona native Mike Iuzzolino’s has had a distinguished basketball career.

Iuzzolino’s proficiency on the basketball court has taken him all over the globe.

Most recently, he worked for eight years on the Robert Morris men’s basketball staff, including the last three as associate head coach.

Iuzzolino, 56, is settling in now as Sewickley Academy’s boys basketball coach, replacing Jim Dudas, who coached the Panthers for one season.

Iuzzolino was hired officially May 15.

The first item on his coaching agenda?

“To get to know the players and to be able to evaluate returners and new players coming into the program,” Iuzzolino said. “I have two coaching philosophies: one, be where your feet are and, two, be an everyday guy not a sometimes guy.”

Iuzzolino is looking forward to having “the opportunity to mentor young kids and have a positive impact of their development both on and off the court.”

He is the second coach hired by the Panthers’ new athletic director, Mike Scerbo, who crossed paths career-wise with Iuzzolino at Duquesne.

“I am extremely excited to have coach Iuzzolino leading our boys basketball program,” Scerbo said. “His resume is outstanding, but what I learned about him during the interview process went well beyond the paper. Coach Iuzzolino is an outstanding teacher and mentor for young men. I fully expect him to develop our athletes into leaders on and off the court.

“Coach Iuzzolino will hit the ground running. With his energy, enthusiasm and love for the game of basketball, we will see immediate strides forward. We expect all our coaches at SA to develop well-rounded student-athletes and coach Iuzzolino’s leadership style embodies that commitment.”

Iuzzolino was a part of a staff that guided RMU to a conference championship in 2020 and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The previous year, RMU advanced to the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.

Before his time with the Colonials, Iuzzolino spent two seasons as an assistant at Canisius. He held assistant coaching positions at Saint Vincent, Duquesne and George Mason before becoming the director of basketball operations at Canisius. In 2013, he assumed the same role at the University of New Mexico.

He coached in the women’s basketball programs at Duquesne and George Mason.

Iuzzolino’s professional playing career extended from 1991-2003.

He was selected by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round (35th pick overall) of the 1991 NBA draft. Iuzzolino played two years for the Mavericks as a 5-foot-10 point guard.

In 1993, he signed as a free agent with the Orlando Magic but was waived. Following his stint in the NBA, Iuzzolino played professionally in Italy, Spain and Greece.

“I was very blessed to have a professional career that lasted 12 years,” Iuzzolino said. “I was able to play for and learn from some of the best coaches in the world and experience different styles of basketball. Playing at that level and against that type of competition challenged me every day physically and mentally.

“In addition, I was able to travel to many different countries and be exposed to an incredible amount of different cultures.”

Iuzzolino’s college career started out at Penn State from 1986-88 and ended at St. Francis (Pa.) from 1989-91, where he was the NEC Player of the Year in 1991.

During the 1990-91 season, Iuzzolino was the only player in the country to average more than 20 points (24.1 ppg), shoot better than 50% from the floor (54.2), 50% from beyond the arc (52.8) and 80% (88.7) at the free-throw line.

Iuzzolino is a member of the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame and his No. 8 jersey has been retired by Scaligera Basket Verona, an Italian professional basketball club that competes in the LBA (Lega Basket Serie A).

“Under the late Win Palmer, Sewickley Academy had a rich tradition of basketball success,” Scerbo said. “I know Mike Iuzzolino has the passion and knowledge to return our program to similar levels of success. With coach Iuzzolino at the helm, our future is very bright.”

Iuzzolino is familiar with the Palmer name and the status that goes with it at Sewickley.

“Coach Palmer had a very successful program and did an amazing job producing and developing well-rounded student-athletes,” he said.

Iuzzolino and his wife Dana have two children. Michael is a junior guard and all-conference player on the Saint Vincent men’s basketball team and Olivia is a sophomore at RMU.

Iuzzolino’s father, also named Mike, is a former NBA guard and was an assistant coach with Saint Vincent from 2008-12.

Iuzzolino graduated from St. Francis with a degree in political science and secondary education.

He was featured in the 1993 arcade edition of the video game NBA Jam.

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