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Coach Marsilio reaches milestone

coach with basketball team

Coach Jon Marsilio achieved his 200th win with the Chester Academy boys basketball team against John S. Burke Catholic, 42-39, on February 6, 2024. Humble and team driven, Coach Marsilio was grateful to have come this far in his career, but he is also ready for what lies ahead. 

“I told the team, it’s great that we reached our 200th win. We celebrated. But, now let’s move on. Let’s aim for 201,” he said. 

Coach Marsilio has been teaching physical education at Chester Academy for 18 years. This is now his 17th season coaching varsity basketball. 

“I’ve always enjoyed the tactical side of it,” he said. “Even when I was younger, playing video games, I always liked to understand the plays, the design, and how things run.” 

While growing up, he attended Warwick Valley High School. He ran track and played football. In his senior year, after the football season ended, he had an unfortunate accident, breaking his ankle, and had to reconsider sports for his future. So, he began helping out with Warwick Little League Baseball. 

He then attended SUNY Cortland, where he wanted to continue his involvement with sports. He got an opportunity to begin filming games for the women’s basketball team. He was eager to keep growing, so he pitched himself to the coach and was taken on as a team manager. Eventually, he became a student assistant coach and then graduate assistant coach. He also worked with the Cortland Special Olympics. 

In 2004, he graduated with a bachelor’s in Physical Education with a concentration in Coaching and Adapted Physical Education and in 2010 he earned his master’s in Health Education.

He was a full time substitute teacher at Chester Academy in 2006 and when a position opened up in 2007, he became a physical education teacher. He coached JV basketball in 2007 and 2008, became the varsity coach in 2008, and has been with the team ever since. He also coached modified and JV baseball from 2007 to 2016. He has also been coaching football since 2007. From 2010 to 2022 he was the JV head coach and in 2022 he became the varsity team’s defensive coordinator. 

As a coach for the Hambletonians, Marsilio has had many years of experience with coaching students and developing meaningful relationships with them.

“My favorite thing about being a coach is the relationships,” he said. “It’s all about developing relationships and maintaining them. Whether it’s with players, or coaches from other teams. If you don’t have a relationship with them, it’s tough. I use the term ‘love’ a lot. I tell my players that I love them, all the time, and I’m as honest and as open as I can be.” 

Part of being a coach, he said, is to put in the time and lead by example. 

“I use the term VET, with them. In everything we do, we want to be vulnerable, empathetic, and transparent because if we can be those three things as a leader, as a father, a son, a brother… life is going to be a lot better for us.”

Working hard, being dedicated and being truly committed are important values that Coach Marsilio instills in his players. Commitment is part of understanding that not every game, every day, or practice will be perfect, which is why he emphasizes that team members stay strong and believe in themselves.

“Criticism is tough, especially nowadays because criticism is so ever present with social media. It’s hard to have that ‘thick skin.’ But we tell them that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. When you make a mistake, there is a brighter day. You’re going to get in the slumps, and you’re going to have issues, but, being headstrong and making sure that you are taking the steps to do things the right way. Hopefully, we’ll get the result that we want.”

Even beyond the school building, Coach Marsilio makes sure to show up for his current team members and those that have graduated.

“I have a calendar with their birthdays, so I make sure to send a happy birthday every year,” he said. “At least they know that I’m thinking of them.”

“I really want to build something special for them. I want to make it the best experience I can with coaching and teaching,” he said. “There is no instant gratification, it's hard. You don’t know what’s going to happen 10 or 20 years from now. My hope is that they appreciate it.”

Coach Marsilio also honors his graduating seniors to make sure that they are always a part of the program, no matter where they are. In the boys’ locker room, each senior has a portion of the walls painted with their names, number and graduating year. 

basketball team numbers and names on locker room wall

basketball team numbers and names on locker room wall“The juniors and sophomores that are coming in get to see those seniors that have done the work before them, and had the success. We try to acknowledge them.”

“We use the term ‘Mudita,’ which is finding joy in the success of others and if we can find joy in the success of others it builds a connection between me and my team. Truly accepting that my happiness isn’t just mine, it’s ours, and I can be happy for others and truly find joy in it.”

Congratulations, Coach Marsilio on your 200th win as a Hambletonian and thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to the students at Chester Academy!