PALATINE, Ill. – After coaching for 22 years at the junior college level, including the past seven years here at Harper College, head men's basketball coach Tony Amarino has announced his retirement from coaching.
Amarino started at Harper in the fall of 2007 after spending 15 years as the head coach of the Morton College men's basketball team. He compiled a 263-236 record with Morton, including a Region IV Championship in 2005 and six 20-win seasons.
At Harper, Amarino worked not only as the basketball coach but as a facilities manager and teacher. In his seven years as head coach, the Hawks won 103 games, but more importantly, Amarino felt a strong bond with the Harper athletic department and his players.
"The acquaintance I had with Doug Spiwak (Director of Athletics and Fitness) and Ashley Knight (Dean of Student Affairs) was one of the great things about being here," Amarino said. "They've been great to me for seven years. They backed me 200%."
The Hawks' season and Amarino's career ended with a tough loss to Joliet in the Region IV Semifinals, and he described the initial feeling as 'numb'.
"When we win or lose, it's all about my guys. I didn't feel bad for me because my career is over," he said. "I just felt bad for the guys. The way we came back and could have had the win…"
It didn't really sink in until two days later when Amarino went in to his bedroom to get his bag out to prepare for the usual Monday practice.
"Tony was a coach you wanted to play for night in and night out," said Harper basketball player Bradley Reibel (/Prospect). "He always expected you to work hard and carry yourself in the right manner."
"Tony is one of the finest individuals I have ever worked with. He is dedicated, responsible, and always had Harper's best interests at heart," Knight said. "He was interested in what was best for the students and gave his job his all. I will miss working with Tony."
"It was an honor and pleasure to work with Tony for the last seven years. We were never outcoached. Tony prepared his teams physically and mentally to compete for a win in every game. The student-athletes improved their basketball and life skills by participating on our team," Spiwak said. "The players always had Tony as a teacher and mentor who was always looking out for their best interest. Tony had my complete confidence and trust, and I hope I earned his respect by supporting his efforts. The game of basketball was better because of Tony."