A blast from the past is returning to the sidelines as boys basketball coach at Starpoint High School.
The reason Gil Licata is coming back is simple. He no longer has any children of his own who are playing competitive basketball in high school or college who require his attention. The Starpoint principal has some free time and is finding a different way of staying involved in the game he loves, taking over for Ben Scaffidi – who stepped down after seven seasons last April.
For those unfamiliar with Licata’s coaching career, he guided Turner-Carroll to two Manhattan Cup championships and one state title during his two seasons with the program, 1986-87 and 1988-89. He also served as an assistant at Canisius College for a season in between his T/C stints.
Licata last coached at Canisius High School from 1990-93. He was set to become Tonawanda coach when he was tapped as assistant principal at Starpoint. He never coached a game at Tonawanda as he slowly morphed from coaching other people’s children to being a dad who watched his children play basketball.
“The timing is really good so I’m really excited about it,” Licata said. “I thought about it. I was taken aback when Ben Scaffidi gave it up. Then It just happened.”
Licata, the father of former University at Buffalo and Williamsville South standout quarterback and basketball player Joe Licata, was one of six applicants with credentials that stood out, according to Athletic Director Tom Sarkovics.
“Gil was far and above in terms of experience,” Sarkovics said. “His kids have been basketball people forever. His daughter Gracie just graduated from Buffalo State so it gives him the opportunity to stay with basketball because that’s his No. 1 love.
“He’s all excited. We had a good first meeting with the kids today. I think a few were a little shocked that he was doing it because they think of him as principal not basketball coach.”
Licata’s goals for the season? “We’re going to be on time and work hard on and off the court,” he said. “Good things will happen when we work hard.”