Warnero earns 100th win
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
As the clock wound down at Mike “Red” Wallace Gymnasium in Dimock on Thursday night, the crowd was holding its breath.
But when the buzzer signaled the end of the fourth quarter and a 65-62 victory for Elk Lake over Mountain View, the packed gym erupted with a rousing applause.
The cheers were extra loud on Thursday, because the win marked 100 career victories for seventh-year head coach John Warnero.
After the victory, Warnero was presented with a plaque and a game ball to signify the milestone.
Center court flooded with current and former Elk Lake players who were there to mark the occasion with Warnero.
Since beginning his coaching career at Elk Lake in the 2006-07 season, he has amassed a record of 100 wins, 57 losses.
In 2008 and 2009, the Warriors won the Lackawanna League Division III championship in two consecutive years.
A surprised Warnero graciously accepted the gifts, but downplayed his role in the accomplishment, attributing his success to the hard work of his players and support of fellow Elk Lake coach Marc Weisgold, and wife Karlyn.
“All those wins came at the hands of the kids who gave it their all night after night,” Warnero said. “They are a hard working group.”
Warnero also said that the milestone would not have been possible without Weisgold.
“When we took this job, we agreed that we would be co-coaches,” Warnero said. “And none of this would be possible with him. He’s been here through every single game.”
Weisgold and Warnero agreed that neither one would coach without the other.
“I wouldn’t have taken the job without him coaching with me,” Warnero said.
Warnero also credits the willingness of his wife to let him be away during nights, weekends and in the summer to coach.
“The support of my family and my wife Karlyn is a true blessing,” Warnero said.
Weisgold attributed Warnero’s success to his dedicated coaching style.
“He brings such a level of intensity to the floor,” Weisgold said.
Weisgold also noted that having been a player at Elk Lake, he gained a sense of pride for the program, and incorporates it into his coaching style.
“We stress what it means to wear the Elk Lake uniform,” Weisgold said. “It’s more than just basketball.”
Warnero, 35, said he isn’t sure how many years he’ll end up coaching for the Warriors, but said if the kids coming through the system keep to the standard they have been during his time as coach, it will be difficult to ever hang it up.
“If the kids are like this every year, it will be tough to ever give it up,” Warnero said. “All the ups and downs equal out. I always say, you get back what you put into it.”
Warnero said this year’s group of Warriors, who are currently 7-1 on the season, have grown tremendously in a short time.
“Their growth from last year to this year is unbelievable,” Warnero said. “We were young last year, and still are this year. But these guys put in a great offseason.”
He said this year’s team never complains and is always willing to come into the gym and put in the work.
“Getting these guys to come in and do work is not difficult,” Warnero said. “And they take criticism extremely well.”
As for the rest of this year, Warnero said he is striving for a successful year by focusing on what the team can control.
“I know it may sound cliché, but as a team we only focus on what we can guarantee,” Warnero said. “And that’s our effort.”