MacDonald Announces Coaching Staff Additions at Daemen College

Daemen College head men’s basketball coach Mike MacDonald has announced the hiring of Mark Coppola and Blair Estarfaa. Both will serve as an assistant coach for the Wildcats.

A 2014 graduate of Daemen, Coppola played in 110 games during his outstanding four-year career with the men’s basketball team. The team’s starting point guard his final three seasons, he quarterbacked the Wildcats to 68 wins as a starter. As a sophomore he led the team to an American Mideast Conference (AMC) championship and an appearance in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II Tournament. His junior year the Wildcats posted a school-record 27 wins and advanced to the championship game of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division I Tournament. He capped his career by leading Daemen to an East Coast Conference (ECC) regular-season title as a senior in Daemen’s first year as a member of the NCAA Division II league.

A two-time team captain, he still ranks first among Daemen’s all-time leaders in career assists (623) and fourth in career steals (168). A Dean’s List student during his time at Daemen, Coppola earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting. He was also the recipient of Daemen’s C.L.A.W. Award as a senior. The award is given to the student-athlete who best exhibits the traits of character, leadership, academic achievement and work ethic.

“We are excited to add Mark Coppola to our staff, said MacDonald.” “He had a stellar career as a Wildcat both on and off of the court, and he will be a great role model for our student-athletes. What better way for our young point guards to learn than from one of the best in Daemen history?”

Coppola is a 2010 graduate of Williamsville South High School. A three-time All-Western New York selection, he was named second team Class A all-state and ECIC Player of the Year as a senior after leading the Billies to a Section VI Class A championship. His Williamsville South jersey number “21” was retired during a ceremony at his alma mater last winter.

Coppola has served as the junior varsity basketball coach at Sweet Home High School the past two years and has also coached Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball with the Buffalo Storm.

Estarfaa comes to Daemen after serving as an assistant coach at NCAA Division III Alfred University last winter.

He is a graduate of SUNY Cortland and three-year member of the men’s basketball team. He captained the 2015-16 team to a 21-8 record and a State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) title. He earned first-team All-SUNYAC honors and second-team all-district honors as a senior after averaging a team-high 15.4 points. In his three seasons at Cortland, Estarfaa scored 969 points in 80 games (12.1 points per game) and shot 40 percent from 3-point range (183-of-457). He earned his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science / Sport Studies from Cortland.

“I first had the chance to get to know Blair when he spent his first year of college at Medaille,” said MacDonald. “That year I got to see him deal with adversity and really mature. I was really impressed with his work at Alfred University last year. You could see he has become really focused on being a college coach and moving up in the profession.”

Estarfaa was a standout on the boys’ basketball team at Maryvale High School in Cheektowaga, N.Y. As a senior he averaged 25 points per game and collected fifth-team Class A all-state honors. He was also named second-team All-Western New York and ECIC III Player of the Year following his senior season.

Coppola and Estarfaa join fellow assistant coach Ryan Grandits on MacDonald’s staff. Grandits served as graduate assistant coach last season after playing for MacDonald at both Medaille and Daemen. Grandits was a former standout at Kenmore West High School.

“All three members of our staff were standout high school players in Western New York,” explained MacDonald. “They all had to work hard to carve out the success they had in college. All three guys are committed to helping our student-athletes improve as students, players and as people. They will bring a great energy to our program and the entire Daemen athletics department.”

Daemen returns three of its top five scorers from last year’s team that finished 19-9 overall and 12-6 in the East Coast Conference. season. In the four seasons since Daemen joined the ECC and began playing a full Division II schedule, the Wildcats are 80-36 which ranks second among all Division II teams in the state of New York and all ECC teams for total wins.

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