Abington Heights coach Ken Bianchi and longtime assistant coach Jeff McLane guided the Comets to a win over Scranton on Friday night in a Lackawanna League Division I game.
It was the 758th career victory for Bianchi in his illustrious career that began at Line Mountain and included stays at Scranton Tech, West Scranton and, of course, Abington Heights.
Throughout his career, Bianchi not only won games and championships, he earned respect from the players who he taught the values of the game and life.
Here are just a few of the words from former players:
“Our practices were very competitive and he was big on fundamentals. He was always poised and never lost his cool. We went to districts my sophomore and junior years (1993-1994) He had a great basketball IQ. We were competitive without a world of talent because he put us in situations to win.”
— Corey Joyce
Class of 1995
Three-sport standout for the Invaders
“He was a loyal and honest guy. He told you like it was and you trusted him. He made sure you were always prepared. He kept everything simple and he has a great demeanor. I loved the guy, and back in the day, he coached us at Tech and we were playing against teams for championships.”
— Michael Marichak
Class of 1989
Former head football coach at Scranton
“I learned a tremendous amount about game planning. Even though I as a football guy, I learned about being a people manager. He still conducts himself in the best way. He is committed to his model and it works. He’s the classiest guy you will ever meet. He has something for everything you throw at him. He’s always got answers to counter. He had a book of last-minute plays, and he pulled it out against Bishop O’Hara. I had to throw the in-bounds pass three-quarters of the court. I did it, we made the basket and won. It worked. I have a ton of respect for the guy.”
— John Marichak
Class of 1987
“What I loved most about playing for Coach was that he treated us like men. He made me want to be better. He was tough on us when he needed to be, but always was approachable.
“He helped shape me and my coaching style and even still, throughout my career as a head coach, he’s been there for me whenever I needed, sending notes of encouragement, taking a call to discuss strategies or just stopping by to review different offenses.
I’ll always be grateful for that relationship and will continue to chase the bar that he’s set so high for all of us.”
— Enrico Mastroianni
Head men’s coach
Class of 1994