ECC_BOYS_BASKETBALL_CHAMP

Former Stonington coach John Luzzi will be coaching a high school team in Sarasota, Florida next season. | Tim Martin, Special To The Sun

Former SHS coach takes

over boys program

at Cardinal Mooney

STONINGTON — John Luzzi really didn't expect much to materialize when he sent a copy of his résumé to Cardinal Mooney High in Sarasota, Fla.

The former Stonington High boys basketball coach assumed the job opening would go to a local candidate.

"I was looking on the Florida Athletic Association coaching website. Of course, I find one in Sarasota County, where we are moving," Luzzi said. "I figured it would end when I sent in my résumé."

Instead, Luzzi received a call from the school's athletic director seeking an interview. Luzzi, who will begin the move to Florida on Tuesday with his family, interviewed through FaceTime with the AD and the school's principal. FaceTime is a video-calling application.

"We had a great conversation for 45 minutes. I had a pretty good camaraderie with the principal and the AD," Luzzi said. "I watched one of their games online. What drew me to them was the way they played and the type of kids they had reminded me of Stonington.

"It was a microcosm of Stonington. It just felt right."

Cardinal Mooney is a coed Catholic school with an enrollment of 491 students, according to the Florida High School Athletic Association website. They are a Class 3A school. Florida has seven divisions.

The Cougars were 10-15 last season.

The team plays in a league with other private schools, but also has public schools on its schedule, Luzzi said.

Public and private schools play each other in the postseason.

Luzzi said he plans to meet with his new team late this week or early in July.

Luzzi, a Westerly High graduate, coached at Stonington for five years, posting a 53-59 record. But he left on a high note — the 2018-19 campaign was one of the program's most successful in several years.

The Bears shared the ECC Division III championship with St. Bernard, their first divisional title since 2009. They lost to the Saints in the ECC D-II tournament championship game at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Stonington then put together two wins in the Division IV state tournament before losing by a basket in double overtime to St. Joseph's in the quarterfinals.

The Bears finished 19-7, the most wins since 2011 when the they were 20-7.

Luzzi resigned in mid-May after making the decision with his family to move to Florida. Luzzi, a former physical education teacher at Clark Lane Middle School in Waterford, will be working in the insurance industry in Florida.

Jay Wosencroft, an assistant with Luzzi, was named the new Stonington coach last week.

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