TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Basketball legend Bob Cousy once said, “Sports create a bond between contemporaries that lasts a lifetime.” That couldn’t be more true for Catholic Central boys and girls varsity basketball head coaches Guy and Audra Di Bacco.
Guy Di Bacco started his coaching career in 2001 as the head junior varsity basketball coach at Catholic Central. He made the jump to head varsity coach the ensuing year, but left after one season to take a coaching position at Lansingburgh High School where he was employed.
After stints with Knights and the Shaker High School junior varsity team, an opportunity arose for Di Bacco to return to the Crusaders as head varsity coach in 2019. Fortunately, he had a pretty good reference for the job: his wife, Audra, who had been the girls varsity basketball head coach since 2010.
As it would turn out, Guy Di Bacco had a more difficult decision to make about coming back to Catholic Central than the athletic department had in its’ search for a new head coach.
“They (the athletic department) were pretty familiar with his resume; I don’t think I had to do very much convincing,” said Audra Di Bacco. “I think it was more convincing him (Guy) that it was a good idea after they asked him.”
Now, Catholic Central is in the midst of one of the greatest basketball seasons in school history. The two programs have combined for a 36-3 record – 19-1 for the boys; 17-2 for the girls – and are ranked in the top-ten in the state by the New York State Sportswriters Association.
When it comes to basketball, the Di Bacco’s, like most couples, admit they don’t always see eye-to-eye. But they can both agree on the source of their respective team’s success.
“The success of our program relies on the kids,” said Guy Di Bacco. “They’re student-athletes; they come, and work hard. We demand a lot of their time, and a lot of their attention to details. Our success mostly should be attributed to our players.”
“They work hard in the offseason,” added Audra Di Bacco. “They come in; they get down to business. We have a lot of fun, but it’s business. And they know that. And I think that we wouldn’t be as successful if we didn’t have kids that came in wanting to do those things.”
And the connection between the two head coaches has forged a unique bond between the two programs.
“The time that they (Guy and Audra Di Bacco) put in…it just shows the kids that they always have their back,” said Catholic Central athletic director Austin Matteo, who’s also an assistant coach for the boys team. “It’s not just Guy that’s in it; his wife’s in it as well. And you’ll see when we don’t play…our boys are here, and Guy’s here, and our coaching staff – we’re here supporting the girls. And they’re supporting us. It embodies the family atmosphere that we try to have here at Catholic Central.”
It’s not every couple that gets to share their life’s work with each other, and the Di Bacco’s don’t take that for granted.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Guy Di Bacco. “We know the problems and frustrations. I think my wife does a great job of allowing me the space after (games); and the decompression. I think I’m still working on that, and reading whether I should ask, or shouldn’t ask (after her games). But that may go with more than just basketball.”
“I could come home, and if I don’t wanna talk about it, we don’t talk about it,” said Audra Di Bacco. “If we wanna talk, and bounce ideas off, you know, the kitchen table – there’s plays, I mean, drawn all over the place. It gives us a balance. I think sometimes when maybe one person is a coach, and the other person is not, you don’t understand it sometimes. So, I think we understand each other very well, and it just works for us.”
While the two coaches are their own biggest critics on the court, they’re each others biggest supporters.
“She will speak her mind,” said Guy Di Bacco. “And demand…effort and excellence from her players, regardless if it’s the first player on the team, versus, well this year, the eighth. That is something that is pretty admirable as a coach.”
“Passion and attention to detail (for Guy),” said Audra Di Bacco. “I mean, there are many nights where, you know, you win by 40, and he’s at the kitchen table thinking about what didn’t go right; and what needs to be fixed; and wanting to make it better for the next time; and it’s just not good enough. Some coaches are, “Oh, we won!” That’s not good enough for him. And I respect that, you know, as not only as my husband, but as a coach. And sometimes I’m like, “Just go to bed. It’s okay. Tomorrow is a new day.””
The boys team holds the No. 1 seed in the Class B bracket, and welcomes in 16th-seeded Broadalbin-Perth Tuesday night at 7:00. The girls squad owns the No. 2 seed in the Class A bracket, and will host Academy of the Holy Names Thursday at 7:30 p.m.