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Jeff Spinelli named FLCC men’s basketball coach

  • / Updated:
  • Kyle Evans 

The Finger Lakes Community College Athletics Department has officially named Jeff Spinelli as the Lakers’ new men’s basketball coach for the 2023-24 season.

“It is an honor to accept the position of head men’s basketball coach at FLCC. I’m both humbled and excited to begin. I am looking forward to having an impact and influence on the young men that I will be coaching” stated Jeff Spinelli, head men’s basketball coach.

With an impressive record as both a student-athlete and a coach, Spinelli joins the Lakers with extensive experience in the sport. He comes to FLCC after serving as a successful assistant men’s basketball coach with Nazareth College (1996-1999), and SUNY Brockport (2000-2005) before helping establish Blizzard Basketball AAU.

“After a thorough search, we are pleased to welcome Jeff Spinelli as our next head men’s basketball coach. The energy and enthusiasm he brings made him a great fit for this job. We’re excited to see the impact Jeff will have on our men’s basketball program,” said Samantha Boccacino, FLCC’s director of athletics.

Spinelli attended Onondaga Community College (OCC) and Roberts Wesleyan University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communications/Business in 1996 before launching his coaching career. Following a successful stint at Nazareth College, Spinelli’s SUNY Brockport teams reached the Sweet 16 and the Elite 8 of the NCAA Division III tournament in back-to-back years in 2001 and 2002.

Outside of the collegiate landscape, Spinelli’s Blizzard Basketball AAU teams captured numerous tournament championships throughout upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania throughout the years. He has coached some of the area’s top prospects and has held camps and instructional training with renowned coaches like Greg Dunne (Brockport), Tim Sweeney (Hobart), and Jack Leisure (McQuaid Jesuit).

When asked about his mindset going into year one, Spinelli explained, “we plan on building a strong program that starts with a commitment to attitude, effort, and execution both in the classroom and on the hardwood. I’m optimistic about the opportunity to create a competitive program”.

As a player, Spinelli was a standout at Auburn High School (Section III), leading his team to two consecutive Sectional Finals in 1990 and 1991, serving as team captain in that final season. With an impressive average of 14.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game, Spinelli would play a crucial role in the Maroons’ championship run.

One of Spinelli’s most impressive accolades with the Maroons was being named to the (80/50) Club, shooting 88.6% from the free-throw line and 54% from the field. Spinelli is a member of the (20/20) club after completing a dominating 27-point, 22-rebound performance against Liverpool in 1991.

Spinelli’s strong senior season earned him selections to the Exceptional Senior Game and the Zebra Classic, while also earning OHSL North All-League selection. Spinelli would move on to enjoy a successful collegiate career, spending one season with OCC before transferring to Roberts Wesleyan. Spinelli was named team captain for the Redhawks in 1996 and would earn a spot in the Keystone Conference Senior Game.

“Drawing on almost 40 years of experience as both a player and a coach at the youth, high school, and college levels has prepared me for this challenge ahead. My passion and enthusiasm for the game should translate to the style of play from my players. You can expect our program will encourage up-tempo, pressure basketball for 40 minutes. I hope to create a family environment with a ‘we’ over ‘me’ mentality”, Spinelli explained when asked about his experience on the hardwood.

Outside of basketball, Spinelli is a family man and a servant leader who is active in the community as a volunteer at St. Mary’s Church. He has been married for 22 years to his wife, Emily, and has three children: Olivia, who is studying Education at Nazareth College, George, who is a junior at Canandaigua Academy, and Jimmy, who is in seventh grade at Canandaigua Middle School. Outside of coaching, Spinelli has had a successful career in medical sales for the past 25 years and has won multiple Presidents Club awards.

“I look at this position as not just coaching the game of basketball, but the game of life. I will draw on my experience in the business world to teach these young men skill sets that apply to the real world. Sports teach us resilience, perseverance, and teamwork. Each one of these skills will translate into their professional career outside of basketball. My goal is to develop not only better basketball players, but better men. I am a family man who is dedicated to servant leadership. I hope to create a family environment with both the team and FLCC staff”, Spinelli added.

Under Spinelli, the Lakers will look to write the next chapter for the college’s men’s basketball program, which historically has been one of the Lakers’ most successful.

“We are looking to build on a rich history of competitive play and academic achievement here at FLCC. In order to achieve success, we must create a culture where behavior drives results. It will be the responsibility as a coaching staff to encourage positive behavior will result in reaching our full potential as a team”, stated Spinelli.