As I reported Monday night on Twitter, Al Morales was named the new boys basketball coach at Kennedy Catholic.
“It was a dream job for me,” said Morales, who is also the athletic director at the Brewster Sports Center. “I’m a Catholic school graduate. Coming in under Tom Nelligan, I learned the ins and outs through him, and I knew it was a special place. I knew one day I wanted to coach the boys varsity at Kennedy. It was a dream of mine.”
Morales had coached the Kennedy girls the last four seasons. His teams twice made the County Center, losing both times in the semifinals to eventual state champion Irvington. Prior to Kennedy, Morales coached the boys varsity at Somers for three seasons. He had originally served as the JV coach and a varsity assistant at Kennedy under Nelligan when the Gaels won the Class B state and Federation championships.
“Coaching girls has made me a better coach,” Morales said. “That time definitely increased my knowledge of basketball.”
Morales, who is also the athletic director at the Brewster Sports Center, was originally rumored to have been the choice after Kennedy abruptly fired Frank Kelly this summer. The move led parents to petition the school for more information about the decision and for a thorough interview process to pick Kelly’s successor. Morales was among the coaches to interview for the position and he was hired Monday afternoon.
“That pretty much comes with the program,” Morales said about the protests. “Any situation you fall into, you’re going to have some negatives and some positives. The coach that was there was a great guy, so I think it’s going to cause some adversity.”
Morales confirmed that Kennedy has already lost two players from last year’s varsity roster to transfer: junior Mike DeMello (White Plains) and sophomore Mike Del Guidice (Brewster). DeMello was the team’s starter point guard as a sophomore and Del Guidice made the varsity as a freshman. He also said it was possible players at lower levels of the program would transfer as well.
“That comes with the territory, I think,” he said. “You move forward with whoever is there. It’s going to take time to build a program.”