Mount Vernon beat Scarsdale 75-50 this afternoon to improve to 13-1. It was the 400th victory of Bob Cimmino’s storied career and occurred in record time. Among the nine coaches in the 400 club, Cimmino had the fastest ascent; his career record is now 400-72.
The Knights were in control throughout, leading Scarsdale by double digits for most of the game despite playing without starters Jamal Lewis and Jalen David. Josh Doughty and Brandon Martin were fantastic and Devonte Banner continued to solidify his spot in the starting lineup with a strong all-around effort.
Below is my story about Cimmino’s achievement, followed by a year-by-year look at his history:
SCARSDALE The wins Bob Cimmino cares about most are the championships. Of those, there are many: 13 in Section 1; 10 regionals; a record six at states; and four at the Federation. By contrast to those triumphs in gyms like the County Center and Glens Falls, the Mount Vernon basketball coach seemed subdued Thursday among a sea of well-wishers after the Knights’ 75-50 victory at Scarsdale High School.
The game marked Cimmino’s 400th victory in just 19 seasons, vaulting him into a group of eight local boys coaches in the 400 club. Although the milestone paled in comparison to those championships, he conceded what this meant to a community that has meant so much to him.
“It was nice to play really well today,” said Cimmino, now 400-72. “It was a nice little present. I honestly don’t care about the 400 at all, but everybody’s happy so I’m happy, too.”
That has been a common emotion during Cimmino’s era, the most successful in Section 1 basketball history by any measure. His teams’ records include both team, individual and personal glory, like seven straight sectional champions; seven straight Section 1 “Mr. Basketball” winners; and his assignments coaching national all-star games, including the 2011 McDonald’s All-American Game.
Among Cimmino’s proudest achievements is an extensive coaching staff that includes former players and men who coached alongside him at St. Ursula’s Parish.
“One quality that I have is that I’m able to keep good people around and we have a ton of good people around who do great things for our players,” Cimmino said. “I think our players appreciate that. It just really rises above being a team into a family.”
Mount Vernon’s players showed their appreciation again Thursday. Senior Josh Doughty (pictured above) had 17 points and nine assists and junior Brandon Martin had team-highs of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Devonte Banner (pictured right) added 16 points and six rebounds, rising to fill the void without starters Jamal Lewis (thigh bruise) and Jalen David (coach’s decision).
Despite hitting five 3-pointers, Doughty’s willingness to share the ball helped the Knights (13-1) pad a 15-point halftime lead during a strong third quarter.
“He’s a great coach. He’s been doing it for a long time,” said Doughty, a captain who was a reserve on the last two state championship teams. “He’s had good players every year, but he’s always pushed the team. It’s never about one person. He puts that in our minds. That why he’s won so much.”
No one needs to remind Scarsdale of that. The Raiders (12-4) received a strong effort from big man Jack Hewitt (23 points) and Tyler Nathan and Jon Cohen combined to hit seven 3’s yet they still suffered a second straight lopsided loss to Mount Vernon.
Shortly after the buzzer, coach Jon Feld summed up the Cimmino era without pause.
“Unwinnable,” Feld said. “I think we’re now 0-20 against them in the nine years I’ve coached. He’s got great talent, but coaching talent is not easy. You have a lot more pressure on you and the expectations are always high. And he delivers every year.”
• • •
According to state records, Cimmino became the eighth local boys basketball coach to win 400 games. Peekskill’s Lou Panzanaro, the area’s winningest coach, is the only active coach other than Cimmino.
Lou Panzanaro, Peekskill – 564*
John Volpe, Gorton/Sacred Heart – 528
Mike DelVal, Woodlands/Hamilton/Rye – 514
John Costello, Dobbs Ferry/Hastings – 456
Lou Kliewe, Spring Valley/Albertus Magnus – 447**
Gary Gray, Nyack – 432
Cliff Clinton, Rye – 400
Tom Collins, Albertus Magnus – 400
Bob Cimmino, Mount Vernon – 400*
**coached in Section 9
• • •
Here’s a look at Cimmino’s season-by-season records and championships:
1994-95: 17-5 (Section 1)
1999-2000: 28-0 (Section 1, regional, state, Federation)
2000-01: 20-7 (Section 1, regional)
2001-02: 25-2 (Section 1, regional)
2002-03: 26-1 (Section 1, regional)
2003-04: 27-3 (Section 1, regional, state, Federation)
2005-06: 23-5 (Section 1, regional, state, Federation)
2006-07: 24-5 (Section 1, regional, state)
2007-08: 23-4 (Section 1, regional)
2008-09: 20-4 (Section 1)
2009-10: 17-6 (Section 1)
2010-11: 23-5 (Section 1, regional, state, federation)
2011-12: 23-3 (Section 1, regional, state)
TOTALS: 400-72; Championships – 13 Section 1, 10 regional, 6 state, 4 Federation