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Villa Maria taps Silveri as athletic director, men’s basketball coach

Villa Maria College is about to take another step forward in its move to bring intercollegiate athletics to the school this fall.

The Cheektowaga-based school will announce on Monday that Don Silveri will serve as the school’s athletic director and men’s basketball coach for the program.

“I worked there back in the ’70s,” Silveri said. “I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Villa Maria.”

Silveri had been the coach for 25 years at Daemen College before he was relieved of his duties last fall. He had a 414-344 record with the Wildcats. He also was the athletic director for part of his time at the Amherst school.

“I love being in athletics,” he said. “I helped develop the program at Daemen. I think I can do that here. It’s all about a love of coaching.”

Silveri also was the head coach of men’s basketball at Erie Community College and an assistant coach at Buffalo State earlier in his career.

The timeline for Silveri is a little daunting, as Villa Maria will start fielding teams in as little as six months.

“Time is of the essence,” he said. “I’ll have to hire a women’s basketball coach, two soccer coaches, and put a schedule together.”

The obvious starting point for a schedule is to play local teams such as Medaille College, Hilbert College and D’Youville College. Silveri plans for Villa Maria to apply to join the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.

Once the two basketball and two soccer teams are created for the 2015-16 academic year, Silveri hopes to add a few more for the 2016-17 season. The college has discussed adding such sports as tennis, golf and lacrosse down the road.

Of course, Silveri will need athletes for those teams. The recruiting process in Western New York for men’s basketball players is already underway.

“That’s what I’ve been doing all day long,” he said. “In basketball, all the playoffs are going on right now. I’ll be at Buffalo State all next week. The timing is pretty good.

“Having been involved in the game locally for so long, there aren’t many coaches that I don’t have a relationship with already.”