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updated: 5/8/2012 10:54 PM

Como ready for transition to Wheeling

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  • Tony Como

    Tony Como

By Marty Maciaszek

Tony Como and his wife Laura had a life-changing event more than a year ago with the birth of their son Gibson.

Another big change occurred Tuesday for the Como family. Tony was named Wheeling's new boys basketball head coach after a decade as an underlevel coach at Rolling Meadows.

Como replaces John Clancy, who resigned after two seasons when he lost his full-time teaching position in staff cuts.

"It's something I've wanted to do but I didn't think this would be coming up since it was sort of unexpected that John resigned," Como said. "It's exciting for me. Since I came here I always wanted to be an MSL coach and it will be different coaching against all of these guys."

Como coached the freshmen at Meadows in his first year in 2002 and has led the sophomores since then. He also spent a year coaching the freshmen at Elk Grove and two years as an assistant at Notre Dame, where he played basketball and baseball before graduating in 1994. He also played baseball at Benedictine University.

Como joins a Wheeling coaching staff where Brent Pearlman was hired in January to lead the football program and Matt Padron is in his first year in charge of the baseball program.

"He already has the experience and knowledge and throughout the interview process, he really talked about the experience of high school athletics and its importance to build relationships with kids," said Wheeling assistant principal for student activities Steve May of Como, who will teach English. "He wants kids who will be positive role models around school and he understands the importance of everything that goes into a successful basketball program.

"I'm excited that Anthony is coming over from Rolling Meadows and wants to join all the good things that are going on at Wheeling."

The Wildcats were 2-25 last season but they return two of their top players in sophomore guards Jeremy Stephani and Chris Pierro. May also believes Como will continue what Clancy did in building up the feeder program.

"I have a lot of respect for Lou (former coach Wool) and John and both of them brought a lot to the school," Como said. "John did a great job the last few years rejuvenating the program and we hope to continue that."

Working for coaches such as Kevin Katovich at Meadows and current Hersey coach Steve Messer at Elk Grove and playing for Denny Zelasko in basketball and Dan Hogan and Bob Ugel in baseball at Notre Dame gave Como a solid foundation for his first head coaching job.

"My style is to play aggressively and leave everything on the court," Como said. "I'd like to play an up-tempo game that brings excitement and hopefully makes kids want to be a part of Wheeling basketball.

"It's bittersweet because I love it here with the kids and the staff. But I think it's time for a challenge and certainly this is a challenge. We'll give it the best shot we can."

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