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John Fuschino Exit Interview

Recently, John Fuschino resigned his post as Boys' Basketball Coach at JHS.  After four seasons, he had a record of 80-32 at the helm of the Trojans.  His career mark as a varsity coach is 140-75 as he had stops at Somerset (26-23) and Windber (34-20) prior to coming to JHS.  Coach was nice enough to answer one final Coach's Corner for us.

1. It might be hard to pinpoint one moment, but can you give us 2-3 of your favorite moments at JHS?

Hershey has to be the highpoint. It doesn’t happen very often and for our team to make it there was amazing.

Coaching takes a lot of time and hard work so you have to cherish the positives that happen throughout a season to get you through. Giving kids the opportunity to go to college that wouldn’t otherwise be possible was the next highpoint to my coaching at Johnstown. Not every player may take advantage of the opportunity, but knowing that because of you, they can go to college for free if they choose to is very special.

2. You have a unique accomplishment in that you played (Windber, 1987) and coached (JHS, 2005) in state championship games. Can you compare and contrast those two experiences?

As a player, I didn’t really know what Hershey was all about. We didn’t know how hard it was to get there. We were a good team that played with confidence and expected to win games. Though we ended up losing, looking back, it was really a great accomplishment.

As a coach, I knew more about the difficulty of getting there. Even though were had 4 junior starters, I knew it would be easier to beat Steelton once than it would be to win the district and 4 games to get back there the next year.

Both times is something I will never forget, I think going as a coach made me realize how special it was to go as a player too.

Being there in both instances, I would say that you have more control over the game as a player. Our coach taught us everything we needed throughout the season and that showed in us getting there, but it was up to us to play the game.

3. Prior to coaching at JHS, you coached at Somerset and Windber. Can you tell us a little about each of those stops along your way to JHS and how you built upon those experiences?

Somerset was a great experience for me. When I thought about applying for the job, I called some current coaches at the time and asked them what they thought about the upcoming Somerset team. They all told me that Somerset would only win a game or two. That was just the challenge I needed. I took the job and we ended up going to the D6 AAA playoffs that year and the next. Although I copied everything I was taught by my varsity coach, I was able to develop my own personality as a head coach that I continued to use through Johnstown.

I took two years off coaching when my daughter was born, and that’s when Windber called. I took that job because driving time during the season and off-season was so much less that I could still spend time with my family and coach. I gained more playoff experience during those two years, all of which I think helped when we made our run at states.

4. You probably wouldn't want to single out one player, but can you give us 2-3 guys, outside of the stars that got a lot of publicity (more like unsung heroes) that you'll remember fondly from your days as JHS coach?

Steven Lee would be one of those players. When we played Altoona at home in 04-05 we were down by a lot of points and he had a big second quarter to spark us for the win. Also, in the game against Yough, with 3 guys on the bench with foul trouble, Steven came up with shot after shot to keep the lead until we could put those guys back in.

Danny Blake would be another player that stood out. He was a very good point guard. We saw this year how important a true point guard is to the team.

5. Do you have any regrets as to anything you would have liked to accomplish at JHS?

Thanks to the administration and school board for always being supportive, I think we accomplished a lot in my four years here. Aside from the games, we had appreciation nights at games, started a 7th grade program, our players would meet with the elementary schools, and we raised money to play in leagues like the one in Pittsburgh. Looking back you always think you could have done more, but I am happy with the progress we have made.

6. Last question, are you shutting the door tight or could you see yourself as a varsity head coach at some point in the future?

My daughter is in 4th grade now, I can see myself as a volunteer in a few years if she decides to go in that direction. Other than that, I need time to secure my rental business and watch my daughter grow up. Ten years down the line things may change, as of now, watching from the sidelines is where I’ll be.

 

I would like to thank you for allowing me to participate with the website, it has been a lot of fun. It’s a good way for viewers to keep in touch with Johnstown athletics.

Thanks again

Editors' note:  we would like to thank Coach Fuschino right back for all the time he took to correspond with the Trojan Nation site during the 2007-08 season.  We wish him the best of luck in his business and well as many happy years together with his family.   D.K.

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