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Asterino retires as second winningest boys basketball coach at East Fairmont

May 30—PLEASANT VALLEY — After more than 30 years coaching in some capacity for East Fairmont boys basketball, Head Coach Ty Asterino decided it's time to step away for good.

"It really was a difficult decision," Asterino said. "You've been some place for 30-some years and you see it come the way you want it to come and work out the way you want it to work out... I just felt at the time it was a good decision for everybody."

Asterino said that he'll keep teaching at East Fairmont High for the time being. He's confident the administration at East Fairmont will choose the best candidate for the job and give the same support that kept Asterino at East Fairmont for so many years.

After graduating from East Fairmont and later Fairmont State, Asterino joined Gary Hawkins' coaching staff at East Fairmont. Asterino played under Hawkins in high school, and it was Hawkins and Brad Butcher who inspired Asterino to go into coaching.

"The impression they made on me in the years that I played here, I knew that I wanted to get into coaching," Asterino said. "I wanted to work with kids. I wanted to be a teacher. I said it to close friends, I never thought that I would be here 30-some years. I honestly didn't, but I'm proud of that."

Succeeding Hawkins as East Fairmont's boys basketball coach, Asterino stayed in that position for 21 years. He finished his tenure as the second winningest coach in program history with 226 wins, 24 behind Jim Cale's 250, according to Athletic Director James Beckman.

Beckman, also the head girls basketball coach at East Fairmont, said he owes Asterino for his shot at coaching high school basketball. Beckman served as an assistant for Asterino for seven years and took what he learned to build up the girls basketball program.

"[He's] one of the most detailed men that I've ever been around," Beckman said. "Watching him go out and scout teams, how he put a practice plan together, to how he ran an organization. I took that and continue to build my program the way I wanted to with pieces I learned from Coach.

"I can't thank him enough. He gave me my first lead, coming from East Fairmont Junior High to East Fairmont High School. If it wasn't for him and giving me an opportunity, I don't know if I'd be here."

Asterino had the unique opportunity to not just coach his son, Gavin, but also coach with him. It was already special for Asterino to coach his son, and it made their relationship even more special to have Gavin on his coaching staff.

"He was at the time in school, but at the same time it gave us a chance to spend a lot of time together," Asterino said. "That's a bond I had with him when he was here and he played, so to continue it as a coach, that really, really was special to me."

According to now-graduated East Fairmont boys basketball senior Jackson Crouso, who signed with West Virginia Wesleyan men's basketball on Tuesday, Asterino taught his players to work hard and build good relationships with others.

"He taught me what a good ethic is," Crouso said. "And to build good relationships with people around you, and it'll help you become even better than what you thought you could be."

To finish his head coaching tenure, Asterino coached East Fairmont boys basketball to the state tournament for just the second time in his career. The Bees won their first state tournament game in 23 years, beating Logan 62-35 in the quarterfinal.

While East Fairmont's new coach won't have the seniors who made a significant impact on that tournament run, like Crouso, Beckman said the school's looking for candidates who will build on the program's success just like how Asterino built on Hawkins' successes.

"We want that candidate... to build on the success that this program has had the last few years and even when Coach Hawkins had it and so on," Beckman said. "We want to reload, not rebuild. That coach coming in is going to have some work on his hands, and we want a hard working individual that knows the game and knows East Fairmont."

Still, the legacy that Asterino leaves at East Fairmont cannot be understated, especially for a coach that stayed at the high school for as many years as he did, according to Beckman.

"The longevity that Coach Asterino has been at our boys program, the loyalty that he showed as an assistant coach and a head coach speaks volumes of the character of Coach Asterino," Beckman said. "East Fairmont thanks him, and I can't thank him enough as well."

Reach Colin C. Rhodes at 304-367-2548