Santangelo named Weir hoops coach
WEIRTON — Anthony Santangelo began his coaching career as a volunteer for a few seasons in the Weir High program.
Mike Granato brought him in when Santangelo was teaching at the middle school. Five years after he began his coaching journey, he took over the reigns from Granato and is the new boys basketball head coach, with the board approving the decision Monday evening.
“It would have been dumb for me to pass up this great opportunity,” he said. “Whether I wanted to stay in the college level or go to a high school, either way this is a great opportunity for me. Mike brought me in, as well, when I was at the middle school teaching. To take after him, those are big shoes to fill. I am grateful for the opportunity.”
Santangelo, a 2008 graduate from Brooke, began as a volunteer assistant in 2015 with the varsity and junior varsity squads. Two years later, he became an assistant and the recruiting coordinator at Franciscan University of Steubenville where he spent the past three seasons.
When Granato retired earlier this summer, it took roughly one day for Santangelo to apply. Being under Granato’s wing for a few years helped him prepare for what the Red Riders have to offer.
“I learned all of the basics of being a head coach,” Santangelo said. “Eyes are on you at all times, starting a culture with these kids, gaining a relationship with them on and off the court. It was big for him to be in the building to be that authority figure, but he also built relationships. It wasn’t always about basketball. I learned a lot from him building relationships off of the court and within the community.”
While at Franciscan, Santangelo also learned a great deal under head coach Joe Wallace. The main lesson was laying a foundation.
“Coach Wallace was huge on building a culture,” he said. “Just like with Mike, it was the way he built relationships. He also taught me how to be a coach, how to be a class act and being a man. That’s what I want to bring to Weir High. I want to teach these athletes how to be young men off the court.
“I also learned so much from him on the court. He taught me a lot about defense. He was an excellent mentor. He’s like a best friend.”
Being the university’s recruiting coordinator also helped Santangelo when it comes to dealing with relationships.
“That’s a relationship process that you go through with people every day,” he said. “Joe let me let my wings spread this past year with that. I’m definitely comfortable with the kids, and they reach out to me, as well.”
Santangelo, who is entering his third year as a physical education teacher at Oak Glen, was a point guard for Brooke and also played soccer. He attended West Liberty University and finished in 2013 with a degree in health and physical education. He was a student manager for WLU from 2011-13. He currently resides in Follansbee.
He has a lot to catch up on regarding the 2020 Red Riders.
“I know the team a little bit,” Santangelo said. “I know they have a good junior class returning. I had guys like Sebastian (Spencer) and (Brodie) McUmar when they were freshmen, but I don’t know a ton about the kids (returning). This week I’ll get going, making phone calls and texting.”
Hopefully, Santangelo can get the ball rolling after the initial greetings. He hopes tryouts and practices will start on time, depending on the coronavirus pandemic and what comes with it.
For the time being, Santangelo is enjoying the moment and is ready to get started.