Tamaqua has hired a familiar face as its new boys basketball coach.
On Tuesday evening the Tamaqua Area School Board approved Caszy Kosciolek as the Blue Raiders' head varsity coach, at a salary to be established at the start of the 2011-12 school year.
Kosciolek replaces Jay Daubert, who coached the Raiders to a 16-50 record in three years, including 5-17 this past season.
Kosciolek, who resides in Lake Hauto, is the Magisterial District Justice in Lansford.
A former cage standout at Marian, where he scored 1,357 career points, and at Bloomsburg University, where he also played four years of football, Kosciolek has head coaching experience; he served at Panther Valley for four seasons from 1994-98 and at Lehighton for three seasons from 2004-2007, guiding the Indians to the District 11 Class AAA semifinals the last two of those years.
He has also assisted with the hoop programs at Marian, Allentown College (now DeSales University), Lake Gibson, Florida, and St. Jerome's in Tamaqua.
Kosciolek has also coached in the basketball program at Tamaqua, as an assistant under Joe Ligenza from 2002-04 and as eighth grade coach under Daubert the past two seasons.
Since he has been involved with the players at the younger levels, the head coaching position gives Kosciolek a chance to continue working with them as they reach the varsity level.
"Coaching is something I do and have been doing since 1989, and the opportunity presented itself here," said Kosciolek. "I'll have the opportunity to work with the kids that I worked with the last two years, and I am already familiar with every class, with the exception of next year's senior class. I believe this is a situation that is ready to take off."
It has been seven seasons since Tamaqua's cagers had a winning record. The Raiders' last District 11 appearance came in 2003-04, when they finished 15-9 under Ligenza. Kosciolek is the Raiders' fourth head coach since that last playoff berth.
Kosciolek feels any program needs to be built from the ground up to have continued success.
"My intention is to develop the complete program," he stated. "I want the young kids to come out in third through sixth grades and have a good team at the varsity level so that those kids can aspire to be a point of succession. I want to be available as much as I can for the rest of the program.
"Things go in cycles, and you have your great years and down years. The goal is to create stability so that there are no lull years in terms of wins and losses, and that starts at the lower levels with the kids."
Kosciolek said he will stress the need for his players to work on their basketball skills during the offseason.
"In order to get better, you have to work on your game between March and November, because if you don't, somebody else is," emphasized Kosciolek. "That is a key ingredient.
"However, I am a proponent of kids playing other sports at their school, and I am looking forward to working with the other coaches at Tamaqua. While I encourage kids to play other sports, I will let them know the basketball door is open.
"My goal is to have the boys basketball program be on par with the other successful programs at the school," he added.