When Ed Matott looks back on his coaching career, the first accomplishments that pop into his head, not surprisingly, are the two Rockland PSAL basketball championships he led Nyack to in 1975 and 1976.
Both were against rival Albertus Magnus and both were won by three-point margins. But what Matott still chuckles at is how a day or two before the second meeting he tipped his hand to Albertus coach and friend Tom Collins —and still came away victorious.
“Tommy sat down next to me at the bar and said, ‘What are you going to do this time?’ ” Matott recalled. “I told him ‘I’ve got two really good shooting guards and they’re going to get the ball a lot.’ ”
That they did. After the game, Collins was in bewilderment at Matott’s brazen move.
When a scheme worked well, Matott stuck with it. Albeit the zone defense and triple post (triangle offense) he implemented, he picked up from Kansas State coach Tex Winter. Over his 14 years at the helm of Nyack basketball, he earned 213 career wins, the two PSAL titles and a Section 9 title in 1970.
In 1958, his first year at Nyack, he coached Ron Edwards, who he called his first “super” basketball player. He went on to coach 1,000-point scorer Jimmy Mack as well as All-State basketball, football and track standout Robbie Woods. Matott also coached varsity soccer and baseball, the latter being the sport he was originally hired to coach at Nyack.
Between 1958 and 1986, he taught three decades of American History and Asian Studies at Nyack High School. As a high school and soccer official for 37 years, Matott was the top-ranked state referee for multiple years, and his services were highly sought after. He officiated the first state soccer championship game at Cornell University and went on to referee four more, as well as a college national championship game.
“Oh, I enjoyed officiating soccer a lot more than coaching it,” Mattot said. “I got to see skilled soccer at its best.”
On being inducted to the Rockland Sports Hall of Fame, Matott said it was an honor.
“I’ve been involved in the athletic world a long time and I’ve met many great people along the way,” he said. “It’s a great thing.”
The Rockland Sports Hall of Fame dinner will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Pearl River Elks Club in Nanuet. Tickets are $55 per person, $30 for children 12 and under, and may be purchased by calling Peter Castelano at 201-390-3245 (email: email@example.com)