Chris Lovermi has been coaching girls basketball for 17 years. Yet, the newly hired Fair Lawn High School varsity coach said he still looks forward to the start of each new season.
"We can start practicing officially the day after Thanksgiving, and that's where we'll be," said Lovermi, who also lives in Fair Lawn. "It's a new start for me, a new beginning, and I'm excited about it."
Lovermi knows a thing or two about girls hoops in Bergen County. He began at Emerson Boro, spent several seasons at Bergen Tech and, most recently, coached at Pascack Hills High School before joining the Cutters' staff.
"I knew Fair Lawn has had a successful program so when the position became available, I went for it," he said. "Living in town made it even more attractive."
Lovermi also said that while the team may be different, the competition is familiar. Fair Lawn has moved from the North Bergen Interscholastic Athletic League to the Big North division.
"Having coached other teams in the [former] NBIL, I know what we'll be facing. The teams in the Big North are pretty much the same," he said. "The schedule will be challenging but that's what makes it worth it."
Lovermi is cautiously optimistic about his expectations for the team, saying "I'll keep it open for now," but he is most encouraged by the interest prospective players are already showing.
"I met a lot of players during the summer in rec leagues and at camps, and I have to say the turnout was impressive," Lovermi said. "Lack of participation and enthusiasm is definitely not an issue, and that's a great way to start.
"It's always a good thing to have the numbers and see the girls step up," he added. "I can't wait to get going."
Lovermi's game plan for the season is simple: "I want the girls to enjoy the game, learn the game, work together."
He said he is is also thinking beyond the school year.
"I'm hoping to continue to build a solid program for Fair Lawn through recreation and youth leagues. It's rewarding as a coach to see how girls basketball has grown over the last 10 years," Lovermi said. "There are year-round opportunities that weren't there before and it's great.
"And I want to do whatever I can to keep it going here in Fair Lawn."