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Monday, July 25, 2016: Two significant coaching departures reported

   Leading off today: Two highly successful basketball coaches disclosed over the weekend that they will be leaving the high school ranks.

   Staten Island Academy girls coach Rose Bruno, who guided the Tigers to three Federation championships, resigned in order to devote more time to her family and new job responsibilities, The Advance reported.

   Meanwhile, Mike Grosodonia has signed on as an assistant coach at St. John Fisher College less than five months after directing Aquinas to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class AA crown.

   Bruno, 31, who led Staten Island Academy to the Federation A championship last March, said she'd been undecided about her future since midway through her seventh season.

   "I've been coaching my daughters (twins Emma and Olivia) in tee ball and soccer and helped out in their basketball clinic over the winter at St. Charles, but there's times when I miss things and it's getting harder to coordinate picking them up and dropping them off.

   "I started thinking about it more after the season ended and after weighing the pros and cons, I obviously have to put them first and, in doing so, I can't make the same commitment as in years past, so I felt it was necessary to step down as coach."

   Bruno has plenty else going on in her life, the paper reported. She's getting married in September, is in the midst of completing a Ph.D. in healthcare administration and recently received a promotion as a nursing supervisor overseeing a team of nurses and their patients' care.

   "I almost didn't take the promotion because of (my coaching job at SIA)," Bruno confessed. "But after sitting down with my fiance', we just thought, 'How can I not take this (position)?'"

   Said AD Mike Mazella: "I was surprised by her announcement, but anytime you make a decision in the best interest of your family, we understand. We have some big shoes to fill."

   Bruno compiled a 141-44 record and four 20-win seasons. Her teams won Federation championships in 2011 (Class C), 2015 (B) and 2016 (A).

   Grosodonia, 40, coached Aquinas to six Section 5 titles and a 194-38 record in 10 seasons after succeeding the late Mike Dianetti. His most impressive achievement may have been a drastic retooling in the fall of 2012. After several seasons of playing with a bruising, physical style that culminated with a loss to Mount Vernon in the 2012 state Class AA final, Grosodonia turned loose eight- and nine-man rotations whose relentless defense created numerous transition baskets and wore down opponents.

   Despite losing his point guard to prep school, a leading rebounder to an injury and precious practice time to the football team's long journey to a state title, Grosodonia created a roster of largely interchangeable parts that fell one win short of a Federation title.

   "I really noticed how his kids played the right way. They shared the ball," Fisher coach Rob Kornaker told the Democrat and Chronicle. "He's a guy who got the most out of the talent on his team. Look, Aquinas has talent, but he got the most out of his kids and they weren't always the most talented team on the floor."

   Said Grosodonia: "I'm going to miss it, but it has always been my dream to coach college basketball and the timing of this just seems right."

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   Second gold for Watson: Rush-Henrietta rising senior Sammy Watson added a relay gold to her 800 meters championship at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Poland.

   The Team USA women made two changes in the lineup Sunday after posting the second-fastest time in prelims. Watson inherited a lead and anchored the 1,600 relay squad to victory in 3:29.11. The U.S. changes saw 400 meters silver medalist Lynna Irby and 400 hurdles champ Anna Cockrell step in to join Karrington Winters and Watson. Winters blew the race open on the third leg and Watson, anchored in :52.47 to seal the deal vs. Jamaica (3:31.01).

   Meeting preview: In case you missed it Sunday night, I posted a preview of the NYSPHSAA Central Committee meeting, which runs Tuesday through Thursday at Turning Stone Resort.

   Awards: Seven schools apiece from Sections 8 and 11 landed on the list this month when the NYSPHSAA announced its 2015-16 Scholar Athlete School of Distinction winners.

   Programs earn School of Distinction status by having 100 percent of their varsity teams post a 90 percent academic average.

   Making the cut from Nassau County were Farmingdale, Garden City, Jericho, Locust Valley, Manhasset, Port Washington and Wheatley. Honorees from Suffolk County were Commack, Kings Park, Miller Place, Northport, Shelter Island, Smithtown West and Westhampton.

   The full list is available on the NYSPHSAA website.

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