By Zach Shaw
Elm Staff Writer
Whether you’re a basketball player or a regular student, chances are you’ve probably encountered the energetic and passionate Nicholas Sparacino, head assistant coach for men’s basketball. After the 2014-2015 season Head Coach Aaron Goodman wasted little time in hiring Sparacino. Once a student athlete himself, Sparacino knows what it takes to succeed.
“Being a role player on these successful teams really helped me appreciate being a part of something bigger than myself to help those around me better themselves in the betterment process of the team,” he said.
Sparacino came to WC from Salisbury University where he served as senior captain and helped the Sea Gulls win the 2015 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Championship and advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in 19 years. During his senior year, he won a Student-Athlete Academic Achievement Award for his success on and off the court. He graduated with a Bachelors in exercise science.
Sparacino oversees player development in the off-season, workout programs, and constructs the scouting reports on game days.
When he wasn’t playing basketball or attending classes, Sparacino embraced coaching and mentoring opportunities. He served as a student coach at Salisbury, was an intern with Salisbury’s Sports Performance Program, served as head boy’s U11 coach for Basketball 2 The Limit, an AAU travel program, and worked at several summer basketball camps in Maryland and New England.
Sparacino didn’t start his career at Salisbury; he played for Lesley University for two years before transferring to be closer to home.
“Transferring from Lesley University to Salisbury University was a tough decision because I loved the program I was in, from the coaching staff to my teammates, and I also loved the city of Cambridge, Mass. The primary reason for me leaving was because my brother Anthony, who passed away about a year ago at the age of 28, was getting spine surgery and I felt it was necessary for me to be closer to home to give my mother some support.”
His role at WC has him showing that same level of support to current athletes. Sparacino, along with lifelong friend Alex Bates and student assistants Austin Murphy and Manny Matthews, create workout programs, oversee player development in the offseason, and construct scouting reports on game days. Sparacino even finds time to dole out friendly advice.
“Even if you aren’t playing the minutes you’d like to be playing, you’re not on the team at your school and you’d like to be, or you’re not in the role you’d like to be in for your team do not quit. These are all fixable with hard work everyday and perseverance.
Something that one of my mentors that I met at Salisbury University (Matt Nein, Sports Performance Coach) taught me is to get one percent better every day, working on your sports performance skills in the weight room, court,field, or building your relationship with your coach, helping a teammate get better, studying film, proper nutrition, taking care of work in the classroom, or even rehabbing your body. As you can see this is not easy to do; if it were, everyone would be a collegiate athlete. It takes mental toughness, physical toughness, and a will to work.”