There's a new man in charge of the Dover High School varsity boys' basketball program.
The Dover school board approved veteran York County assistant Joe Falci as the Eagles' new leader on Tuesday night.
Falci has coached locally on the scholastic level since 1998. He was the junior varsity coach at his alma mater, York Catholic, from 1998 through 2004 and was a varsity assistant with the Irish from 2004 through 2010. He then moved on to Central York, where he was a varsity assistant from 2011 through last season, as well as the head junior varsity coach from 2017 through last season.
Now, however, the 52-year-old Dover native will lead his own program in the town where he grew up and spent his first 25 years.
"I have been coaching basketball for 28 years, including youth basketball," Falci said. "I have so much energy and passion that I am going to pass that on to my players. I coached under the best coaches in York County. ... Kevin Schieler (at Central York) and Mike Keesey and Jim Senft (at York Catholic). They have all been successful, (winning) county, district and state titles.
"I was the JV head coach at YC for a few years, and the last two years I have been Central's JV coach with successful records. So I feel that I more than qualify and I am 100 percent ready."
Falci said this was not his first attempt to become a head coach. He said he applied for the head-coaching jobs at West York (in 2016), at Central York (in 2009) and at York Catholic (in 2008).
"I have not applied to many schools," Falci said. "I have been careful because I had two sons (Joseph at York Catholic and Peter at Central York) who played ... and wanted to see them play and coach them. Secondly, there are only a few schools I had an interest in being the head coach."
Adversity has helped prepare him: Beyond the court, the 1984 York Catholic graduate believes some bouts with adversity in his personal life have also helped prepare him for the Dover job.
"My daughter Gabriella passed away, and that is a driving force in everything I do," he said. "I go above and beyond in anything I do ... all in honor of her. Peter ... was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. He was the starting point guard at Central for two years. Again, my family was put to the test and we overcame.
"These are life lessons, and at Dover (I will teach my players how to ) overcome adversity through hard work and challenge. And I will teach my players that I am there to not only teach basketball but life lessons as well."
Falci is not a teacher. He's the owner of Marcello's Pizza in Mount Wolf, but he doesn't expect that to be a problem.
"I don’t see it as a hurdle, not being in the building during school," he said. "I will see the kids after school and have office hours for the kids to come and meet with me. We will meet on an individual basis often during the season and offseason."
Dover athletic director Rich Leathery said Falci was selected from a field of 11 candidates.
"We thought his experience and knowledge base was sound and he was ready to take the next step," Leathery said. "We liked his values and his ability to relate with and to the kids. We liked his positive attitude, intensity and overall passion for coaching. ... He had a plan and vision for our program that aligns with our school district’s vision."
Short- and long-term goals: Falci said he expects to run a motion offense "with a few wrinkles," and a man-to-man defense.
"Our goals, short term, (are) to be competitive in (York-Adams) Division II, be competitive with our out-of-league schedule (and) make the county playoffs," Falci said.
"Our long-term goals (are to) be competitive year in year out in the county, go far in districts and qualify and win games in the PIAA tourney. Ultimately, (we want to) win county, district and state titles. You have to aim high and get the players to buy into hard work, challenging themselves.
"... I have a favorite saying, not sure where I heard or read it, but I tell the players all the time: 'If yesterday was your best, make today better.'"
Replacing Schmoyer: Falci replaces Brian Schmoyer, who was the winningest coach in program history, compiling a 184-154 record over 14 years at Dover, including four York-Adams League division crowns. Schmoyer's Eagles made the District 3 playoffs 10 times and in 2012, Dover advanced to the Class 4-A state tournament.
Schmoyer's final team finished 13-12, but the Eagles lost three productive players from that team in Elijah Sutton, Keith Davis and Victor Dorm, who combined for about 56 points per game. Sutton was the Y-A League's top scorer at 22.8 points per game, while Davis averaged 19.3 ppg and Dorm averaged 13.6 ppg. Davis only played about half the season because of a hand injury.
Despite the losses, Falci expects his 2019-20 team to be competitive.
"I have some returning players and some good JV and freshman players moving up this season. We will be fine, and we will be competitive in Division II," Falci said. "Losing three players is always tough, but I will challenge the underclassmen to step up on offense and step up as leaders. Coach Schmoyer has done a really good job at Dover."
Schmoyer stepped down to spend more time with his family.
"Coach Schmoyer did so much for our program and kids over his tenure," Leathery said. "He got them to buy in to Dover basketball. He put so much time and effort into it. From organizing youth camps to his well-developed scouting reports. Just having our kids ready to play game in and game out. (He) definitely left big shoes to fill, and we will miss him."
— Reach Steve Heiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.