Coaching Basketball: Unboxed Wisdom


Dr. Bill Ciancio

Bill Ciancio has been coaching basketball through five decades. His multi-faceted careers include teaching at the high school and colleges levels, coaching basketball along with football, baseball, softball, soccer and tennis. He earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery and started three dental offices in Hawaii on Oahu, Big Island and Maui.

His basketball coaching career began in earnest on the Big Island. He has coached in three western states and overseas on three different continents. Experience in action proved to be his best teacher. In his current book, 'Coaching Basketball: Unboxed Wisdom' he'll give you an adventurous glimpse into what makes a coach feel and operate like a classy professional in the world of sports.

A few pictorial winks work as memory reminders. Word of advise: Take a mental snapshot of everyday of your life. Memories can become blurred with activity, anxiety and/or with general busyness. Pictures have helped me remember the precious moments. Enjoy some on mine.

Aloha, Coach C

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Examples of 'Billy Ball's' evolution below.

Enjoy, I surly did!

Eastern Oregon State College was my first and only head college coaching position. I had to change the culture of the program. The athletes were born winners. We only needed a shot of enthusiasm. That was my mandate. My mistake was trying to administer a DIII program like the DI program (UCSB) where I was an assistant for the past two years. My problem was I had difficulty communicating with the school's administration as I addressed in this book.

My second and third years at EOSC we productive, exciting and memorable. We went to the playoffs the first time in the school's last 12 years. We won a road playoff game where a school administrator actually hugged me after the game! We look at these highlights now and wonder how we could we have ever lost a game. Through no fault of the players, my inexperience hurt us. But we did manage to upset the number 6th nationally ranked team in the nation. I'll never forget the standing 'O' I got walking into Denny's after the game from the players and their parents. What a sweet moment!

In the book, I elaborate on one of my teams. These players and I had some rough times when most of them were sophomores. But their senior year we had tons of fun. This is the team that each of the starters had their own offensive set with plays. They were so talented that they all could play point or post positions. They challenged me and my staff's creativity. We were family. In my heart even to this day I feel their warmth and desire. Sons they will always be to me! (Note this game's final score!!)


Here is the last quarter of my first league game at La Quinta High School. It was on the road and locally televised. At that time Indio HS was a league powerhouse and La Quinta was a second tier team. My job included changing the team culture and develop a winning attitude. To our player's credit, they believed and stuck with the game plan. We literally played WHAT we practiced. After this game we EXPECTED to WIN, sending that message to the rest of the league!

Coaching college basketball for five years was a bit of heaven on earth. As you can tell from this interview, even while I was at Rancho Verde High School (a model team of coaches and players) college coaching was in the back of my thoughts. Even as a well seasoned coach, I might be tempted to coach at a small town college again!

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