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For the past 40 years, Andrew Yosinoff has been the coach of the Emmanuel College Women’s Basketball team. On Saturday, November 19, the dedication and hard work he’s put into this school was reflected back as the Saints will now be playing their home games on the newly renamed “Andy Yosinoff Court.”
The President of Emmanuel, Sister Janet, notified Yosinoff in October that the court would be renamed after him.
“I was very honored, very excited for a few reasons: One: My 98 year old father is still alive. He has a scholarship under my mother’s name here at Emmanuel and I’m very happy that he’s still around and is going to be able to be there. Two: it’s a tremendous honor. Pretty exciting to be able to celebrate this with some of my former players,” Yosinoff stated.
Sister Janet did the honors of presenting the new court name prior to Saturday’s Women’s Basketball game.
“Andy and I go way, way back. Since I was here when Andy came…From then to now, through all the changes the college has experienced, a constant has been Andy’s ability to assemble championship teams and electrify this campus community,” Sister Janet stated in her speech.
In 40 years with over one thousand games coached coming into this season, 768 of them wins, one can expect to create a lot of memories in a job like Yosinoff’s. There is one in particular that has and always will stick out for him. It was a game against New York University.
“The number 1 moment was in 2001, the year we made the Final Four. We went out and played in Nashville. Emmanuel at the time was still all-women so no one gave us much of a chance to win. We played them in the National Quarter Finals, the game we had to win to go to the Final Four. There was a tremendous crowd. People were rooting for NYU and we won in overtime. It was just an incredible win. We were winning it the whole game and they tied it up with two seconds to go, then we went to overtime, and then we were front page of the New York Times sports section. That’s number one. I’ve had a lot of close number two’s, but that was fantastic,” Yosinoff stated in an interview.
This year’s team co-captains Jenifer Chalk ’17, Alexis Ezell ’17, and Olivia Marks ’17 all spoke just as highly of Yosinoff as he speaks of them. They all have a few number one memories with their coach.
For Chalk, it started at her recruitment tournament.
“He was always calling me, always showing up to my tournaments. It was very funny…I’d be playing a game, and I would look over and he would be in the corner just staring me down,” she said.
Coaches aren’t allowed to talk to the players during recruitment, but Yosinoff found his ways of getting players attention.
“He would kind of just walk by me and wink at me,” Chalk said.
“Any time you’re on the sidelines with him, it’s pretty memorable just because he’s so enthusiastic like running up and down the sidelines, telling us to get our hands up. Any time we play with him is a memorable moment,” Ezell said.
Yosinoff is well known for being lively during games. He runs up and down the sidelines making his presence known to all of those both on the court and in the stands has become a staple for the women’s basketball games.
“One of the first ones, we were playing a really big game. We were playing Bowdoin. He’s known for being really interactive while coaching. So he was cheering and running up and down the sidelines, and he tripped and fell. So he was saying that since he fell, we better end up winning the game. It kind of shows how much he’s into it. He didn’t really pay attention to how he fell, but he wanted us to win the game so that was like a funny, sad little moment,” Ezell said.
The impact he has had on all three of these women, who have been playing with him for all four years of their college careers, is unique for each one.
“Personally, he’s had an impact because I never thought I would come so far away from home. He made it seem possible. Every time I have a problem, I can talk to him and he’ll put me in contact with someone that’ll help me. He’s expanded my horizons and kind of made me realize: okay you can do this. You can be away from home and be fine and still do well,” said Ezell.
“Andy has had a tremendous impact on me throughout my college career. He has taught me that hard work pays off. Andy is adamant that school comes before basketball and I admire him for that. Andy is like family, encouraging all of us not only on the court, but off the court too. He sincerely cares about all of us and we all love him,” Marks said.
“He’s definitely taught me a lot about commitment. He is probably one of the most committed people I’ve ever met. He just loves us so much and he’s just so into what he does. Basically, all he thinks about is basketball and he’s been doing this for so long that it’s almost like he’s created a family,” Chalk said.
The renaming marks something special for the captains as they are all thrilled to see their coach honored in such a way during their final season.
“The renaming of the court kind of just speaks to me about the impact that Andy has had for Emmanuel in general outside of basketball. The passion that he puts towards it, and how he means so much to the school just because he’s been here for so long, to always have the winning record. It just shows the type of person he is and how memorable and passionate he is and how driven he is too because once he finds that he wants to do something, he’s going to stick with it, and make it work,” Ezell said.
Yosinoff is appreciative for everything Emmanuel has done for him and his family and spoke very highly of the atmosphere at the college.
“What I love about Emmanuel is that, it’s a family atmosphere. Teachers know each other, teachers know me, and we’re not so big that everyone is so lost…Everyone takes care of each other here,” Yosinoff said.
For those that might be seeking a career like Yosinoff’s, he’s got some advice to share.
“My secret is not very complicated, it’s all about how hard you want to work and I’ve been lucky my whole life that I’ve had a job that is still exciting to me 40 years later. It’s all about energy, enthusiasm, and really emotionally caring about, in my situation, my players. It’s about relationships. I have relationships with my players from 40 years ago. It’s about dedication. It’s not an easy thing to do. You really got to sacrifice. Be motivated, and you can’t take no for an answer,” Yosinoff said.
The Saints will now be lacing up on and welcoming their opponents each game to the Andy Yosinoff Court, but Yosinoff will still remain looking humbly and optimistically toward the future.
“This whole thing is not about me. It’s a celebration of all the players that have played with me the last 40 years…The players win games. It’s all about relationships and what my players have accomplished over the years. How friendly the whole school has been to me, in particular to my players and the great support we’ve gotten at Emmanuel,” Yosinoff said.
His speech finished as many of those in attendance expected it to.
“I want to thank you all for being here and we better win the game. Thank you,” said Yosinoff.
The Saints did just that, earning their first win of the season, the seven hundred and sixty ninth in Yosinoff’s career, against Heidelberg University, 59-55.
Merisa Boyd is a Staff Writer for The Hub. She can be contacted at email@example.com and on Twitter at @merisafaith.