No other way would be fitting. A dramatic last-minute comeback secured a 69-66 win for the #13 Villa Maria College Vikings over #3 Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades, and in the process, gave storied head coach Don Silveri his 600th career victory.
Coach Silveri, who has been coaching for more than 38 years, was able to achieve yet another milestone in his Hall of Fame career. He has built the Villa Maria athletic program from the ground up in less than two years, serving also as the school’s athletic director. His first coaching job came at Villa nearly 40 years ago making the 600th win happening as the Vikings’ bench boss, that much sweeter.
“It’s not about 600, it’s about these kids and them believing they could come back and win this game even when things weren’t going our way,” Silveri said after the game. “This game was so important coming in. Our kids knew it, and they responded. I’m so proud of them. This win can hopefully propel us to bigger things season.”
Prior to his second stint at Villa, Silveri served as head coach for men’s basketball at Daemen College for 25 years, while spending 12 of those years as Director of Athletics. Under his guidance, Daemen’s athletic department expanded from two sports to a full 14-sport program, and the men’s basketball team collected over 400 wins including five conference championships and five national tournament appearances under his tutelage. He is a member of the Daemen Athletic Hall of Fame.
Prior to his time at Daemen, Silveri was the head men’s basketball coach at Erie Community College, leading the Kats to NJCAA national tournament three times in his four year tenure. He spent 1980 to 1982 working under local coaching legend Dick Bihr at Buffalo State College, and was head coach of Villa’s men’s basketball team from 1976 to 1980. Silveri is Western New York’s winningest coach and has received six NAIA Division II conference “Coach of the Year” awards. In October of 2016, Silveri was elected to the New York State Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.