Girls' Coach of the Year: Hopewell's Chris Raso

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The Post-Gazette goes up close with Hopewell's Chris Raso.

For the second consecutive season, Raso has earned the Post-Gazette girls' basketball Coach of the Year honors. A big reason for the honor is simple -- Raso guided the Vikings to their second consecutive PIAA Class AAA championship, beating Villa Maria, 37-36, at Penn State's Bryce Jordan Center.

The Vikings have also won WPIAL titles the past two seasons.

Led by four seniors who are Division I athletes -- Jordan Zuppe, Sarah Haluska, Joyce Novacek and Becky Novacek -- the Vikings routinely dismantled opponents this season, outscoring their opposition by an average of 21 points.

The run to this year's title capped off a more-than-impressive run in which Raso and the Vikings went 61-5 the past two seasons, an accomplishment that could merit talk that this Hopewell team is one of the best in a long time to come out of the WPIAL.

Finish this sentence. Hopewell won two consecutive PIAA titles because ...

We had great players. Actually, probably more because we had great players who are great people.

Favorite food: Combine Brothers Restaurant garlic and oil penne pasta. They don't make a better pasta dish, anywhere.

Do you have a desire to coach boys' basketball? Yes, definitely.

Say you win the lottery. What's the first thing you do? I would build my parents a new house, that is the first thing. That is the least I could do for them after all they have done for me.

Who are the basketball coaches you most admire? Vic Bianchi of Ambridge and Jerry Roman of Beaver. Both have had big influences on me and I take lessons I learned from them into what I do every single day.

Is coaching overrated? I think at times, yes, there could be cases where coaching is overrated. But sometimes it takes a coach to get that extra out of a certain kid or kids. So, in some ways it is overrated, but in some ways it isn't because if it was easy, every coach out there would have a good record.

Lake Fong, Post-Gazette
Chris Raso: Team outscored its opponents by 21 points a game.
Click photo for larger image.


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