by Roger Zotti
Cas Grygorcewicz, Head Coach, Women’s Basketball at Mitchell College in New London, said, when he left the school in 2003, the basketball program had been “brought to its highest level ever. We reached a #2 National ranking as part of the NCAA Division II program.” Cas, who returned to Mitchell College in 2006, added, “I like to think, now that we’re in an NCAA Division III basketball program, we’ll bring our program to its highest level once again. [One reason is that] this is the first year I was able to recruit for a full year. We brought in ten new kids. We don’t have any seniors and there are only two juniors on the team. So the future for the Mitchell College Mariners basketball program is indeed very bright.”
There is a new conference this year that Mitchell College will be participating in, “It’s the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC),” Cas said. “It was a priority for our athletic department to get into, since we have gone to the NCAA Division III model.” More, he believes “we’ve turned the corner. I feel we can compete for the title in this conference. Believe me, we have some talented kids here.”
Now on to a few questions that I asked Cas. First, I asked what is most difficult about his job? He replied, “It’s working with a student athlete who might have a difficult time taking responsibility and trusting her coaches and teammates, two crucial ingredients in establishing productive team chemistry.” Second, what’s most rewarding about it? “Well, it’s seeing kids coming to us, in October, with no clue about the program, and what it demands. Then it’s seeing them leave, at the end of the season, having achieved a sense of accomplishment and growth. Seeing them having gained a new maturity about themselves and a genuine trust in both their coaching staff and their teammates.” Third, what’s your basketball philosophy? Without missing he beat, Cas replied, “It’s to be the best you can be not only on the basketball court but also as a person in the community.”
From Tom DiStasio, Norwich, an assistant volunteer coach, “Coach Cas thoroughly knows his stuff. Put simply, he’s an excellent coach. His assistant coaching staff is knowledgeable as well. It’s a privilege to learn from and work with them. A word to the wise, keep an eye on the Mariners this season and in the future.”
In addition to his duties as Head Coach, Cas serves as an Academic Advisor. He pointed out that, “Mitchell College is a strong academic institution with an excellent support system for our students. The school has grown considerably over the past several years and [offers a wide variety of programs].” The Norwich resident is a veteran long-distance runner, too, and one of his many accomplishments occurred in 1982, when he finished the Ocean State Marathon at 2:41.