Las season Dante Calabria earned his first college head coaching gig at Keiser University, a small NAIA program in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was a short marriage between the two. HoopDirt tweeted yesterday that the former UNC sharpshooter will be joining Larry Brown’s staff in Italy for the Fiat Torino basketball club.
Calabria started last season as an assistant for the 1985 NCAA Champion and former Villanova head coach, Rollie Massimino. When Massimino passed away last fall, Calarbia was named the interim head coach. Halfway through the season, Keiser removed the interim label and gave Calabria full control of the program. The team responded with a 201-11 overall record and a berth in the NAIA national tournament.
However, it seems a return to Italy and the opportunity to coach under Larry Brown has proven to be too good of an opportunity to pass up. Brown, who last coached at SMU before resigning during the 2016-17 season, was named the head coach for Fiat Torino in Italy’s Lega Basket Serie A.
Calabria is accustomed to that style of basketball, since he spent most of his professional career playing in that same league. After his playing days were over, he hung around the country and coached Cus Jonico Taranto, a team in Italy’s Serie C. (Do yourself a favor and click on that link. The three-piece suits, mustaches, and sunglasses are peak Italy). Then he hopped back across the Atlantic Ocean and spent time at UNC-Wilmington under Buzz Peterson, before heading down to Keiser University.
Now he gets to return to a familiar league, style of play, and culture. In exchange for helping Brown navigate a foreign league and new professional challenge, Calabria will get to learn from a Hall of Fame coach who holds the distinction of being the only man to win both an NCAA and NBA championship as a head coach. He led the Kansas Jayhawks to the 1988 NCAA title and the Detroit Pistons to the 2004 NBA title.
Also, let’s take a moment and reflect on the fact that Calabria has spent the majority of his adult life:
- Playing basketball for the Tar Heels (1993 NCAA Champion)
- Playing professional basketball in Italy
- Coaching in Wilmington, NC
- Coaching in West Freaking Palm Beach
From the outside looking in, dude is living a charmed life. It ain’t fair.
Best of luck to Coach Brown and Coach Calabria.