Ever since he was the odd man out of the two basketball coaches in the Union City high school merger four years ago, former Union Hill head coach Carlos Cueto was looking for the right opportunity to get back into coaching high school basketball.
“I spent a lot of time with my kids,” Cueto said. “My son was born during that time.”
Cueto spent other time coaching the St. Michael’s AAU program in Union City and remained active with his own camps and clinics.
But Cueto, the former St. Anthony High School and University of Richmond standout, bided his time until the next opportunity came along.
It arrived last week, when the Secaucus Board of Education agreed to hire Cueto as the new boys’ basketball coach at Secaucus High School, replacing Bill Millevoi, Jr.
“Logistically, it works,” said Cueto, who is still a teacher in Union City. “It’s a five-minute commute. With my kids and my wife working full-time, I couldn’t do it unless it worked logistically. But I know that Secaucus has always been known to be a good sports town. They have good people and a good recreation program.”
Cueto said that he’s learned a lot with his time away from high school coaching.
“It makes you appreciate what you had a little more,” said Cueto, who was highly successful at Union Hill and previously at High Tech, earning Hudson Reporter Coach of the Year honors at both schools. “I learned that the passion to coach and teach is still there. The energy is still there. I’ve also mellowed a bit with the referees.”
Secaucus athletic director Charlie Voorhees, who also doubles as the school’s head football coach, was elated to have his recommendation to hire Cueto approved by the Board.
“When the decision was made to look for a new coach and we took in more than 40 resumes, the one resume that stood out was that of Carlos Cueto,” Voorhees said. “His basketball background spoke for itself. There was no better candidate. I didn’t have to look anywhere else. When I met him, I knew that I was meeting someone special. On paper, his resume stood out. In person, he was someone else.”
Added Voorhees, “He showed up about a half-hour early for his interview. We sat down immediately and talked about where he wanted the program to go and the conversation just flowed. We hit it off right away. This was a no-brainer. He’s one of the best teachers of basketball around. It’s a perfect place for him to be.”
Cueto arrives in Secaucus with some assistance in the form of his close friend and coaching colleague Steve Ricciardi, Jr.
Ricciardi, Jr. was the successful coach at High Tech when the program ceased operations two years ago and had spent the last two seasons as an assistant to Nick Mariniello at Hudson Catholic.
“Steve and I talked about going to a place together where we could build a program and stay for a while together,” Cueto said. “I’m really excited about this opportunity. I’m looking forward to working with the kids and after meeting the kids, they were very responsive to me. They want to be part of something special.”…
At the New York Giants’ rookie mini-camp last week, former St. Peter’s Prep superstar Will Hill was among the participants and the chances of him hooking on with the defending Super Bowl champs didn’t look promising, especially after he was demoted during one session on Friday and scolded by assistant coaches after another on Saturday, told to “get off the field.”
However, the former University of Florida safety must have done something to impress the Giants’ staff, because he was one of only three free agent rookies to earn a contract after the camp concluded last week.
After all his trials and tribulations, with controversial bad decisions in his personal life galore, Hill signed a contract with the Giants and will head to training camp in August. He told reporters that he has put all of his troubles behind him and looks at the Giants as being his last chance to make it as a professional football player.
It forced this reporter to pull up something written about Hill in an Athlete of the Week feature almost six years ago. In the Nov. 28, 2006 editions of the Hudson Reporter, it was written: “And it’s also safe to say, that barring injury, this is a young man who will play for pay on Sundays somewhere down the road. Mark it down now. He’s destined for the NFL.”
After what Hill went through with his personal life over the last few years, that prediction seemed so far from the truth. Not now. He’s getting his chance…
Congrats to Hoboken resident and former Holy Family Academy standout athlete Grace Keller for being named the Felician College Female Senior Athlete of the Year.
Keller, who was a three-sport standout at Holy Family, concentrated in softball at Felician and graduated as Felician’s all-time leader in games played with 174. Her 127 hits ranks fourth all-time in school history and she’s among the top five in several other offensive categories. Keller maintained a 3.4 grade point average in a double major of elementary education and art…
The Hudson County Softball Tournament has reached the semifinals, with North Bergen facing McNair Academic and Hoboken playing host to Kearny. The championship game will be played this weekend at NJCU’s Gerrity complex…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Baseball Top Five: 1. Bayonne (21-5). 2. St. Peter’s Prep (16-8). 3. Marist (17-5). 4. North Bergen (16-6). 5. Weehawken (14-9)…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Softball Top Five: 1. Hoboken (19-2). 2. North Bergen (16-4). 3. McNair Academic (20-5). 4. Secaucus (14-6). 5. Hudson Catholic (15-4)…--Jim Hague.
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.