Basketball is what Tony Petosa is known for best, but to say that it defines him is wrong.
His passion for the game, his sportsmanship, his ability to connect with his players and the quiet dignity and dedication he exudes all have combined to make him a revered and respected coach, friend and mentor.
He began to develop his basketball talents while playing for Our Lady Queen of Peace’s CYO teams, but really came into his own at Farrell. He flourished under the tutelage of coach Tony Rafaniello. He established a strong inside presence for the Lions, who went 16-5 Tony’s senior year.
He continued to grow as a person as well as a player at the College of Staten Island.
By the time he graduated he had become the school’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder. He capped his playing career by winning the CUNY Tournament MVP Award. Following graduation he played two years – 1986-87 — for the Staten Island Stallions, a team in the United States Basketball League.
He began his coaching career as an assistant coach for the Dolphins under Howie Ruppert, eventually becoming head man in 1989. He’s been there ever since, becoming the face of basketball at the school ever since.
Self-described as “an old school” kind of coach, his attention to detail combined with his passion for the sport, has earned him 400 victories, as well as a multitude of CUNY basketball titles and Coach of the Year honors. Earlier this year he was inducted into the prestigious Staten Island Sports Hall of Fame.
Even more astonishingly, he did all of this while holding down a full-time position as teacher in the New York City Public Schools system, first at Lafayette HS in Brooklyn, and now at Tottenville HS.
Tony’s impact on literally hundreds of former players is one of the reasons he was named the 2010 Advance Sportsman of the Year. Another reason is his continuing support for the Tournament of Heroes, an event he conceived nine years ago after three former Dolphin players died in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center.
Tony lives with his wife Dalia and daughter Alexa on Staten Island.