The Red Hook Raiders basketball team has a new coach.
Matt Hayes will be courtside next season as the Raiders look to continue their winning ways on the court in the upcoming 2012-13 season. Hayes will fill the spot left vacant after the retirement of basketball legend Rod Chando after 38 winning seasons and over 600 wins.
Hayes said the Red Hook opening came out of left field. “I was surprised to see that Coach Chando retired from coaching because I figured he would have been here for at least another 20 to 25 years,” Hayes said.
Hayes, his wife Erin and two young girls moved to Red Hook just over two years ago. He was head coach for two years at John Jay from 2009-11 after five years as assistant varsity and JV coach in Poughkeepsie and a stint as JV coach at his alma mater Our Lady of Lourdes. The John Jay Patriots were 9-10 during the 2010-11 season at the Section 1 school.
As a Red Hook resident and with more than 10 years of coaching experience, the 38-year-old thought it might be a good fit. On Thursday night, the Red Hook School Board appointed him to the position.
Hayes has already met with the former coach to get his take on the team and the league.
“I met with Coach Chando Friday for close to three hours and he was great,” Hayes said. “I was really happy that he agreed to meet and put in as much time as he did. He went over a number of returning players from last year’s varsity team along with some kids who were on the JV team last year and even a couple of modified [team] kids.”
Hayes was planning to hit the ground running and had called a player meeting for this past Monday.
“Obviously there won’t be an official team until November but as far as there being open workouts, that will start next week,” Hayes said Saturday. “I’m going to have a meeting on Monday, get as many kids as we can in there just to introduce myself and let them know what the rest of the summer schedule is going to look like and then we’ll continue preparations in the Fall.”