Bethel Park hired former WPIAL basketball star Dante Calabria as a men’s coach

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022 | 1:12 AM


Dante Calabria, the former WPIAL basketball star who won the national championship in North Carolina, was recruited Tuesday as a male coach at Bethel Park.

A 1992 Blackhawk graduate and WPIAL Hall of Fame inductee, Calabria has coached at the College, professional and prep school levels, most recently as an assistant at Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla. He has also played 16 professional seasons overseas in Italy, Spain, Greece and France.

“His resume speaks for itself,” said Bethel Park athletic director Dan Sloan. “It’s great to be able to show the boys who come from this area and come to the place where they work, play in the big Division I colleges under a legendary coach, play professionally and then rise in the coaching ranks.”

Calabria played for Dean Smith in North Carolina, but Smith isn’t the only legendary coach on his resume. Calabria was a staff assistant to Larry Brown in the Italian Serie A Basketball League and previously assisted the late Rollie Massimino at Keizer University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“He’s part of a couple of legendary men’s coaching trees,” Sloan said.

Sloan said his Calabrian parents still live in Beaver County and he returned to Western Pennsylvania to spend more time with his family.

As Bethel Park coach, Calabria replace Josh Bears, who retired after seven seasons. The Black Hawks went 16-7 overall last season, 5-5 in Division 2, and reached the first round of the WPIAL Class 6A playoffs.

The team is down to 5A next season.

Sloan said the school received about two dozen applicants for the job.

“We have some good candidates to choose from including some sitting head coaches,” he said.

Calabria will be paid $ 8,700. Sloan said Calabria is currently finalizing the required paperwork.

“When it’s done, we expect him to be in the gym and ready,” he said. “He and I have talked about some summer leagues and involving the kids.”

Calabria was a 2,200 scorer at Blackhawk and was inducted into the WPIAL Hall of Fame in 2014. In North Carolina, the 6-foot-5 keeper won the NCAA championship in 1993 and also reached the Final Four in ’95.

As a professional player, Calabria became a five -time star in Europe and also played for the Italian national team that won the 2005 European Championship.

Among his early coaching stops, Calabria served as assistant coach at UNC Wilmington, head coach at Cus Jonico Taranto of the Italian Basketball League and coach at Montverde Academy, a preparatory school in Florida.

Calabria joined Massimino as an assistant at Keizer and then changed to head coach. Calabria led Keizer to a 20-11 record and appeared in the NAIA Tournament. He then worked with other champion coaches when he joined the Brown staff in Italy.

Massimino won the NCAA title with Villanova in 1985. Brown won both the NCAA and NBA titles.

Chris Harlan is the Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris via email at charlan@triblive.com or via Twitter .

Tag: Bethel Park