Storied Seaford Coach Earns 400th Win

Ralph Rossetti has brought a culture of winning to the Seaford varsity boys basketball program over the past four decades, as he recently notched his 400th career coaching victory. But more important to him is fostering an environment in which his players feel valued, respected and cared for.

The milestone victory came on Jan 6., a dominating 66-34 victory over East Rockaway. Coach Rossetti is in his 43rd year as the varsity coach, and led the middle school team for five years before that. He has continued to coach well past his retirement as a Seaford Middle School technology teacher.

“It was the culmination of a lot of years, a big journey,” he said of his 400th win with the Vikings. “That’s what I’m most proud of, staying at one school.”

Coach Rossetti was 32 when he took over the varsity squad, following a letter of recommendation from a board of education trustee whose son, Scott Andrews, was a Seaford basketball player. His teams have made the playoffs 22 times, won five league championships, two sportsmanship awards and a county championship in 1998 against Island Trees. He also has had three players reach the 1,000-point mark during his tenure, Michael Harrington in the 1990s and James Curley and Robert Goldstein in the 2000s. Several of his players have gone on to play at the collegiate level.

“My biggest satisfaction is after my boys graduate, seeing how well they do in the real world,” Coach Rossetti said.

He was a varsity player for East Meadow High School, then played at Southern State College/University of South Dakota Springfield. His primary position was shooting guard.

Coach Rossetti said that adaptability has been his key to success. During his 43 years leading the Vikings, he has implemented different playing styles based on the strengths and abilities of his players.

The players have tremendous respect for their coach, seeing him as a mentor beyond the game.

“He’s not only a coach for basketball, he also teaches us life lessons and life skills that we’ll need in the future,” senior Jeff Cesario said. “I was just really happy for coach on getting his 400th win. No one deserves it more for all the hard work and dedication he puts into the program.”

Senior Andrew Tudda, a three-year varsity player, said the team lost the game that was Coach Rossetti’s first shot at the milestone, so they worked extra hard to get that win in the next game.

“I love how involved he is,” Andrew said. “He’s a great coach but a much better person. I love playing for him.”

Coach Rossetti’s 300th career win came against W.T. Clarke High School, while his 350th and 400th were both defeats over East Rockaway. The two biggest rivals for Seaford basketball over the years, he said, were Island Trees and Wantagh.

“For four-plus decades, coach Ralph Rossetti, well known as ‘Coach Ro,’ has brought energy, commitment and passion to his student-athletes and the Seaford basketball program,” said

Kevin Witt, director of physical education, health and athletics. “Coach Ro taught valuable life lessons through basketball while having fun making great connections with his players.”

—Submitted by the Seaford School District

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