Unadilla Valley athletic coordinator and boys basketball coach Matt Osborne was named the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) New York Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.
“It’s a great honor. It’s not just my honor, it’s for all the kids I’ve coached, all the parents that have supported, and all the other coaches I’ve worked with,” Osborne said. “I got into coaching because I love to work with the kids, watch them improve and make a team a team, not a bunch of individuals. It’s a challenge, and a challenge I love every year.”
According to a letter Osborne received from NFHS Executive Director Karissa L. Niehoff, the recognition is for the 2018-19 academic year. It said the selected coach is noted for “lifetime community involvement, school involvement and philosophy of coaching.”
Osborne appears to check all three boxes. Since 2009 he has been in charge of youth basketball in the district, facilitating opportunities for kids as young as pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. This includes scheduling facilities, providing referees (often his varsity players) and identifying volunteer coaches that Osborne said have consistently stepped up.
He said the additional duties have not detracted from his work with the varsity team, though.
“It’s all part of it, from one season to the next,” Osborne said. “I think it makes it a little easier. I know the kids coming up, so I can get a grip on them early and focus on kids that want to become basketball players.”
But Osborne’s purview is wider than just one sport. He has served as the UV athletic coordinator for 13 years, and the last three years have been his second stint in charge of varsity baseball. He has also coached varsity soccer.
While he said the summer is used to prepare for the upcoming academic year, he called the fall, a notoriously busy time in high school sports, his “offseason.”
“It’s what I love to do, what I’ve always wanted to do. With the ups and downs of every season, every hurdle is fun to try and cross,” Osborne said. “I’ve made a lot of great relationships with a lot of people, across the board.
“I guess when you love what you do, you don’t really focus on the number of hours you put into it,” he said.
Osborne has also produced success on the hardwood for the Storm. He has spent 23 seasons with the basketball program, serving as head coach for the last 16, and led UV to a second consecutive Section IV Class C boys basketball championship in 2018-19.
With this honor, he now enters the sectional phase, where he will be weighed against the selected coach from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont. If he is named Section 1 coach of the year, he will be considered for National Coach of the Year.
“It was a surprise at first,” Osborne said. “I’ve had a pretty successful career and had some great kids and assistant coaches. It’s hard to believe that it has gotten to the state level and maybe the national level.”
National awards will be announced in April.