The National Basketball League of Canada announced this week that for the second consecutive season Joseph Salerno, a graduate of Montpelier High School and the coach of the Moncton Magic, has been named Coach of the Year for the 2019-20 season.
For back-to-back seasons, Salerno led the Moncton Magic to the best record in the regular season. The Magic continued their home court dominance established last year and finished with an impressive 14-1 inside the friendly confines of the Avenir Centre. Salerno earned Coach of the Month honors twice in January and February.
Prior to the cancellation of the regular season, the Magic were riding an eight win streak that saw them defeat opponents by an average margin of victory of 27 points per game.
“What we witnessed from the Magic organization under Coach Salerno’s leadership coming off a championship season was truly remarkable,” said Deputy Commissioner Audley Stephenson. “The task of defending a championship title on a nightly basis is a difficult challenge that involves a deep level of preparation and dedication. Coach Salerno along with his coaching staff did a phenomenal job of ensuring that the Magic were prepared every single night.”
Salerno becomes the first coach in league history to be named Coach of the Year for two consecutive seasons.
Salerno previously led the Island Storm to an Atlantic Division title, but the team was defeated by the Windsor Express in the finals. Despite this, he was named co-NBL Coach of the Year with Micheal Ray Richardson of the London Lightning.
Salerno coached the Vermont Frost Heaves of the Premier Basketball League and has more than a decade of coaching experience.
Salerno initially coached high school basketball at his alma mater, Montpelier High School, from which he graduated in 2000. He directed the Solons’ varsity boys team for two seasons and most notably led them to a Division II Final Four in 2009. Salerno was also the youngest coach to win the 29th VT/NH Merchants Bank Twin State Rotary Classic. In summer 2008, he spent time in the Netherlands, working at national basketball camps.
Salerno had his first experience coaching professional basketball with the Vermont Frost Heaves. He took an assistant coaching job in 2008 and was promoted to head coach in January 2010, after the team got off to an 0–3 start. He replaced Jeff Strohm, who was fired. In March 2009, Salerno was named PBL Coach of the Month. By the end of his stint with the Frost Heaves, he had an overall head coaching record of 14–8.