Long Island City, NY—April 23, 2013—In a major step toward launching its intercollegiate athletics program, LaGuardia Community College has hired two accomplished basketball coaches for its men’s and women’s teams that will begin their seasons this fall.
Coaching the women’s basketball team will be Anthony Alfaro, a seasoned veteran who has been coaching high school and college basketball since 1996; and Ben Chobhaphand, a winning high school and college basketball player and coach, who will lead the men’s team.
“Both men, who come with a breath of experience in women’s and men’s basketball, will be the main forces behind the establishment of LaGuardia’s basketball teams,” said Brian Goldstein, director of the Department of Athletics and Recreation. “With their expertise and commitment to the game and to our players, intercollegiate sports at the College will have a bright and promising future.”
Both coaches come to their positions with outstanding credentials.
Mr. Alfaro, a resident of Queens and St. John’s University graduate, began his coaching career in 1996 at American Martyrs Catholic School, a K-8 school in Bayside, coaching boys and girls baseball, basketball and softball. During his stint there, all the teams enjoyed impressive records: in 2003 and 2004 the bantam girls basketball teams were the division champs; in 2004 the bantam girls softball team was the Diocesan champs; and in 2005, the PAL girls 12 and under basketball team took second place in the citywide championships.
In 2009, he got his first high school job as an assistant coach of girls JV softball at Mary Louis Academy in Jamaica Estates, and one year later went to Archbishop Molloy High School in Briarwood as head coach of girls JV basketball.
His move to college women’s basketball came in 2009 when he was named head coach at Globe Institute of Technology in Manhattan. The following year he went on to be the associate head coach of women’s basketball at Vaughn College of Aeronautics in East Elmhurst.
Mr. Chobhaphand, a resident of Queens who played basketball for Forest Hills High School and Queensborough Community College where he served as the team captain in 2001, returned to Forest Hills High School in 2003 as the assistant coach for the boy’s varsity basketball team. The following year he was named head coach, a position he held for seven years. He also taught physical education at the high school.
During his time as head coach, he built a winning team that had an overall record of 112-76; had a 73-33 conference record; and made playoff appearances every year. He also coached eight scholarship players and one player who went on to play for the NBA – Maurice Harkless of the Orlando Magic.
For all his accomplishments, which included the Queensborough championship, the Queens Courier named him Queens High School Coach of the Year in 2009.
After a successful seven-year stint at Forest Hills, Mr. Chobhaphand took a position as assistant coach of men’s basketball at Nassau Community College, which has been a powerhouse in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). That year the team finished fifth in the playoffs, making it to the quarterfinals.
LaGuardia selected its two new coaches after a thorough search conducted by a committee comprising staff and students. “I am thrilled at the choices made by our search committee,” said Mr. Goldstein. “The students on the committee each brought unique perspectives given their own athletic and leadership backgrounds. I could not be more pleased with the process or the result as we establish the new intercollegiate athletics program.”
Since their appointments, Mr. Alfaro and Mr. Chobhaphand, have been busy building their 15-player rosters by actively recruiting players from the local high schools, current LaGuardia students and transfer students. Open tryouts will be taking place in October and the teams will be ready to begin practice that month for the 30-game season beginning in November.
“The process is exciting because we will get to put our stamp, our thumbprint, on the program,” said Mr. Alfaro.
In selecting their teams, the coaches agree that they are not only looking for talented players, but those who will commit themselves to a rigorous program that combines a six-day-a-week practice schedule with an academic component that includes study hall and tutoring. “Academics are as important as the basketball program,” said Mr. Alfaro, “and we will keep on top of their grades.”
Each coach shares a similar game plan. Mr. Alfaro said he will shape his team around an up-tempo offensive strategy, which allows for more player participation, and an aggressive, pressing “man-to-man-type defense.” “My coaching style is fast paced and high energy, which due to the physical demands, will provide important playing time for each student athlete,” he said.
While Mr. Chobhaphand explained that he, too, follows an up-tempo offensive strategy, he said that the players’ talents and strengths will ultimately dictate the game plan he develops.
Each will also bring his own personal style. Mr. Alfaro believes in developing a close-knit team. “I believe in team bonding,” he said. “I take the father aspect in coaching very seriously. The parents have entrusted me with their children, and I look to build a family situation with the team.”
And as a product of the CUNY system, Mr. Chobhaphand said that he will be able to relate to LaGuardia students. “Ten years ago I sat in the same place as these college athletes,” said the men’s coach who upon receiving his associate’s degree at Queensborough earned his bachelor’s from SUNY Cortland and his master’s from Touro College. “I will be a positive role model.”
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LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.