Tony Labella leaving role as PRC girls basketball coach

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 2, 2020

Tony Labella announced this week he will be leaving his role as the head coach of the girls basketball program at Pearl River Central High School.

Labella had been in charge of the team since the 2013-2014 season when the Lady Blue Devils went 6-22.

However, over the following six seasons PRC had winning records under Labella.

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Overall, Labella was 107-95 during the seven seasons in charge, but the 101-73 record following his first season as head of the program shows the progress made by the team on the court.

Labella is also the coach of the softball team at PRC and said this year the crossover between the two seasons was just too much to handle after doing it for seven years.

“In January and February, those are big overlap months with both sports and it was really rough this year. A lot of days I’m home at night watching film, then only have two hours with my dogs before going to sleep,” Labella said.

Even though Labella is stepping down from basketball doesn’t mean he’s leaving PRC.

He’ll continue on as a teacher and the head coach of the softball program.

Labella said he just knew it was time to cut down to one head coaching position.

“The thing about cutting back to one, and with the coronavirus, I felt like basketball even though we had a tough loss at least we had a last game. In softball it would just be odd (to leave because) we didn’t even finish the season. There’s no closure,” Labella said.

On April 27, Labella met with his players in small groups while practicing social distancing to tell them of his decision.

Labella said emotions ran high during the small meetings, but that the athletes understood his decision.

“I just told them how much I love them. I’m still going to be one of their biggest fans. I’ve been blessed over the years with a lot of good kids. They’re courteous, respectful and hard working. It was hard to tell them the news, it was emotional for some of them too,” Labella said.

Labella couldn’t speak highly enough of the assistants who served under him for his seven year tenure as head coach.

Kayla Inabinnet was Labella’s assistant coach for the first three years Labella was in charge.

She then moved on to take a head coaching position and Kelsey Carroll stepped in to fill the hole left by Inabinnet’s departure.

Labella said both assistants were instrumental in the team’s success over the years and that he couldn’t have done his job without them.

“I’m kind of a control person with game plans and both of those coaches, if you put something in their hands and they get it done. Whether it be an inbounds play or practice schedule they get it done,” Labella said.

Between his time at PRC and previous basketball coaching stints Labella has a record of 470-285.

Combine those numbers with Labella’s 518-215 record in softball the PRC coach has amassed a total record of 988-500, with a state title as a coach in each sport as well.