H-SPORTS

Apr 17, 2013 9:18 PM by Andrew Masuda

Opportunity to coach at Hancock too big for Nerelli to pass up

Allan Hancock College officially welcomed Cary Nerelli as its new women's basketball head coach on Wednesday afternoon.

Nerelli has spent the last 26 years as the head coach of the Morro Bay High girls basketball team. Nerelli is coming off a 22-4 season at Morro Bay High, where he led the Lady Pirates to their third-straight Los Padres League title. He finished his career at Morro Bay with a career record of 456-219, which came out to a .675 winning percentage. He guided the program to CIF-Southern Section titles in 1991, 1992 and 1999 and five LPL championships.

Nerelli calls leaving Morro Bay the hardest decision he's made in his coaching career. "This is opportunity is only going to come once and if I didn't challenge myself to take it I would wonder what if for the rest of my coaching career. I'm looking forward to the challenge of attempting to turn around a program that's been struggling," said Nerelli.

He inherits a Bulldog program that has struggled for more than a decade. Hancock is coming off a 4-22 season that included a 0-10 mark in Western State Conference play.

Hancock has not finished higher than fourth place in conference play since 2003 when it finished fourth at 6-6 in league. The Bulldogs have not enjoyed a winning season since they went 22-8 in 1995.

"He's just an outstanding job of building relationships and a culture and he's got a reputation in the community of girls basketball that's really unprecedented in this area. So we are very fortunate," said Hancock Athletic Director Kim Ensing, who added she received glowing recommendations for Nerelli from coaches at the local and national levels.

Nerelli plans to start recruiting local talent right away. He says he will need to sell returning and new players on his system that centers around defense and fundamentals.

Current assistant coaches Larry Carney and Louise Madrigal will return next season to Hancock to fill out Nerelli's bench.

Nerelli has also coached Morro Bay's cross country and golf programs for several years. His replacement at MBHS has not been named.

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