One of our own, Bill Mitaritonna, a Half Hollow Hills HS West social studies teacher and coach has self-published a memoir entitled Last of the Redmen on Amazon. It chronicles his connection with family and basketball. When asked why he decided to write this book Bill stated “About 10 years ago at Christmas, my father was visiting us from Nevada and said something after dinner pretty memorable. He told me that I should write a book about my life of playing college basketball at St. John's after not playing a minute in high school. I had very little time to do it but I started it anyway. I decided to finish it after he passed away in 2017. It was a tribute to him, my Mom, and my coaches.”
Bill Mitaritonna was born in 1972 and raised by his parents Mary and Angelo, in the Rosedale, section of Queens. He loved to play baseball and basketball for his father Angelo, who coached so he could teach life lessons using sports. Bill attended Archbishop Molloy HS in Queens where he was not good enough to play basketball, but he had a coaching internship as a student manager for the legendary Jack Curran. After high school, he was recruited to play two years of division 3 basketball for another coaching legend in Jim Graffam at Westbrook College in Portland, Maine. After a family illness, Bill enrolled at St. John's University where he became a part of the Redmen basketball family as a walk-on in his senior year. He fulfilled a lifelong dream playing basketball for St. John's.
When asked why he chose the title of his book, Bill said “I was the last graduating class in 1994 at St. John's who were called "Redmen". Last of the Redmen was a nickname given by my best friend's Dad. Bill Mitaritonna is an ordinary person who accomplished extra ordinary things in life. He went through a lot of failures to become successful. After not playing a minute of high school basketball Bill, with a lot of help from his father Angelo, was able to play 3 years of college basketball. Sometimes, you only need one person to believe you can succeed. Bill was lucky to have several strong influences in his life.
For the last 20 years, he has coached varsity basketball and varsity softball. His legacy in coaching at Hills West will be the lifelong relationships made with his students and players. Twenty-two student athletes went on to play basketball in college while another eighteen went on to play other sports in college. Bill was asked “What effect has writing this book had on you or your students?”. His answer “I cannot believe the effect this book has had on my students, former players, and my family. I'm so happy the reviews have been positive and been called "a feel-good story" and "Inspirational". My students are impressed by the fact that I actually completed it and the book has been successful. A lot of them have read it and enjoyed it.”
Billy was Suffolk County Basketball coach of the year in 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2016, as well as Newsday's Long Island Basketball coach of the year in 2010. In 2011, he was given the St. John's University School of Education “ST. John's University School of Education Teacher of the Year”. Last of the Redmen can be purchased on his website www.lastoftheredmen.com or going to www.amazon.com .
Billy is just one example of the exceptional people we have working with us and we take pride in their successes.