D’Amico new Niles girls basketball coachPublished 8:39am Thursday, July 10, 2014
Phil D’Amico will replace Patrick Touhey as Niles’ girls basketball coach.
Vikings’ Athletic Director Jeff Upton announced the hiring Wednesday afternoon.
“We are excited for coach Phil to take over our program,” Upton said. “He has run several practices and the girls are responding well to his coaching.
“Niles is very fortunate that we were able to attract several quality candidates to choose from and Phil has the experience at both the college and high school level to prepare our team for the tough competition of this year’s schedule.
D’Amico has more than 20 years of coaching experience at the high school level and three years experience at the collegiate level after helping start the basketball program at Holy Cross College.
He also coached both boys and girls basketball at Granger Christian.
“Niles has always had a strong basketball program,” he said. “I was very familiar with the program under coach Jim Arnold. I look forward to continuing to run an aggressive man-to-man defense that will create the opportunities for our offense.”
D’Amico, whose daughter and son both played basketball at Edwardsburg, coached in Pennsylvania before moving to South Bend from the East Coast in 1999. He has also coached AAU basketball.
He is familiar with basketball and southwest Michigan and understands the challenges that lie ahead.
“There are some really tough basketball teams on our schedule,” D’Amico said. “Looking at that schedule, there are no games that you look at and say you can overlook that team. Every one of those teams have a jump start on us. We are definitely behind as I am getting to know the girls and they are getting to know me. Everything we do from last night through November are building blocks. We need to get better each and every day.”
From what he has seen so far, he knows that the Vikings do not have a great deal of height and will have to do other things to compensate for it.
“We are going to spread the floor with an up-tempo type offense,” D’Amico said. “Everyone is going to have to be able to handle the ball and be able to play defense. I like a lot of ball pressure. We really have some good athletes and really good speed and quickness. We will have to use those to our advantage.”
D’Amico was pleased with how the hiring process went and with the support he has received.
“Jeff Upton has been fantastic throughout the process,” he said. “He has a real passion for the kids and this program and this high school. He has a real passion to see us be successful. Hopefully we can live up to those expectations.”
Niles will open the 2014-15 season Dec. 2 at Edwardsburg. The Vikings will play their first home game Dec. 5 against Benton Harbor.