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Mike Rapone

Notre Dame puts another win on Mike Rapone's record-setting legacy in coach's final regular-season game

By Howard B. Owens
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It was Mike Rapone's night at Notre Dame and in front of a capacity crowd there to honor the legendary coach, the Fighting Irish emphasized the point with a win over archrival Elba 63-52.

Rapone said he wanted the focus to be where it should be, where it's always been, on the kids, but also admitted it was an emotional night for him.

"It really didn't hit me until tonight," Rapone said. "I've been talking, you know, this is my last year. It hit me tonight. It was pretty emotional."

Rapone coached at Notre Dame for 42 seasons amassing 709 wins (a Section V record), 32 Genesee Region championships, nine Section V championships, and two state championships.

On Wednesday, Jordan Welker led the scoring with 15 points. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Aiden Sisson scored 14 points each and Cody Henry scored 13.

For Elba, Zach Marsciell scored 23 points, hitting four three-pointers along the way.  Conner Scott scored 15 points.

Section V coaching legend Mike Rapone to be honored at Notre Dame's game Wednesday

By Howard B. Owens


After 42 seasons, 708 wins (a Section V record), 32 Genesee Region championships, nine Section V championships, and two State championships, Notre Dame's Mike Rapone will be honored before Wednesday evening's basketball game at the high school.

Game time is 7 p.m.

Rapone is a 1971 graduate of Notre Dame and also served as the school's athletic director.

His coaching career began in 1978 as JV coach.

In 1981, he became varsity coach. The team was just two years removed from a 1-17 season yet Rapone helped guide the team to its first of 17-straight Genesee Region championships, a Section V title, and a win in the Far West Regional Championship.

The GR championship streak was broken in 1998 but Rapone's teams won 14 of the next 16 GR titles.

Submitted photos. Top photo, Mike Rapone as a player with Notre Dame.


Mike Rapone in 2008


Coach Mike Rapone with his son Mikey in 2002.


Coach Mike Rapone, 1979.

Notre Dame announces hiring of Mikey Rapone as boys basketball coach starting next season

By Mike Pettinella

Press release:

The Notre Dame Board of Trustees on Wednesday announced the hiring of Mikey Rapone as the varsity boys basketball coach beginning in the 2022-23 season, replacing his father, Mike Rapone, who has compiled the most victories in Section V boys basketball history over a 42-year career.

Previously, Mike Rapone announced that he would be stepping down after this season. He has a 708-208 record at the varsity level.

Mikey Rapone (ND Class of 2002 and member of 2001 ND NYS Championship basketball team) has over 15 years coaching at Notre Dame, working with athletes, parents, administrators, and community members.

During the interview process, he commented that coaching in various positions at Notre Dame has enabled him to learn how to successfully motivate student-athletes by ascertaining their strengths as well as their weaknesses and to use this knowledge to assist them in working to achieve beyond their limitations while forging a team first attitude.

"I have gained an understanding of the unique balance of discipline, respect, support, and approachability one needs to maintain with student-athletes to be a successful coach," he said. "I feel that I have developed a great rapport with the teams I have coached and am proud of the relationships we share.”

Rapone said he developed his coaching style by learning from excellent coaches, including his father and also Bill Sutherland, Bill Wade, Dave Pero Sr., Wade Bianco, Marc Staley, Joe Zambito, Rick Rapone, Billy Sutherland, Rick Mancuso and Jim Fanara.

"That is a coaching tree that anyone interested in becoming a coach would love to have been able to learn from and it has prepared me well to maintain the tradition of excellence that is Notre Dame basketball," he said.

He acknowledged that "nobody can replace my father," but added that, "there is nothing more I would like to do than to be the next coach of the Notre Dame basketball program that he spent 40-plus years building."

"I plan to coach in the way that he has envisioned his program to be run by his successor and in a manner Notre Dame can be proud of.  I am not my father. We haven’t always agreed on coaching strategies and personnel but the one thing I definitely share with my dad is his love and passion for Notre Dame, the student-athletes and especially the Notre Dame boys basketball program,” he offered.

Notre Dame's Mike Rapone honored for career 700th win

By Howard B. Owens
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It was a big night for Notre Dame on Friday. Yes, the boys' basketball team won another post-season playoff game -- beating Jasper-Troupsburg 71-58 -- but it was also the night the Fighting Irish honored Hall of Fame Coach Mike Rapone for achieving his 700th career win in Lyndonville last week.

Rapone was honored in remarks by Principal Wade Bianco, lifelong friend, former principal, Joseph Scanlan, and former player Mike Redding.

In the game, Collin McCulley scored 23 points, Gabe Macdonald, 15, Mark Sanders, 12, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, 8. Sanders also had five steals, Macdonald had 14 rebounds and six assists. McCulley had seven rebounds.

For Jasper-Troupsburg, Brayden Hill scored 19 points, hitting four three-pointers, and Tyler Flint scored 12. 

Also on Friday in boys' basketball:

  • Pembroke lost to Lyons 73-46.
  • Byron-Bergen beat RACS 71-63.
  • Alexander beat Clyde-Savannah 54-49.
  • Oakfield-Alabama beat South Seneca 84-58.

Upcoming games:

  • In Class D1, Notre Dame plays Genesee Valley at 8:15 p.m., March 2, at Mount Morris in a semifinal game.
  • In Class D2, Elba plays tonight at 7 o'clock at Elba against Destiny.
  • In Class C3, O-A plays York at 8:15 p.m., March 2 at Genesee Community College.
  • In Class C2, Alexander plays either Perry or Cuba-Rushford at 8:15 p.m. March 2 and a location to be determined.
  • Le Roy plays at 7 tonight at home against Wayland-Cohocton in Class B2.
  • Batavia plays at 7 tonight at home against Newark in Class B1.

Fourth-quarter Fighting Irish comeback gives Mike Rapone 700th career win

By Howard B. Owens
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The Lyndonville Tigers held down a team that four times this season scored more than 90 points, and twice in the past four games going over 100, to just 58 points on a night that team really wanted a win.

The Fighting Irish wanted the win for their Head Coach Mike Rapone, who in his 40th season was on the cusp of his 700th career win.

Lyndonville is a good team, Rapone said after the game, but part of the problem was "the pressure of trying to win the 700th win," he said. "Other people did."

Victory looked far from certain through the first three-quarters of the contest. Notre Dame took their first lead of the night with about 20 seconds left in the first half and then quickly lost it, so they went into the locker room down 19-18.

Instead of coming out fired up, the team still seemed tentative for most of the third quarter and trailed heading into the fourth 40-29.  

Then Mark Sanders got hot, hitting a trio of three-point baskets to help spark a comeback.

He finished the night with 14 points. Gabe Macdonald socred 12 and Cody Henry scored nine.

For Lyndonville, Nathan Dallenbeck scored 21 points and Nathan Dydorle, who also had several blocked shots and steals, scored 16 points.

"I'm proud of the accomplishment, but know it couldn't have happened without all the great young men I have been fortunate enough to coach at Notre Dame," Rapone said.

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Notre Dame, Rapone honored, girls V win boys V lose

By James Burns


Notre Dame High School celebrated on Saturday by thanking Mike Rapone for his outstanding dedication to the students of Notre Dame and his achievement of being inducted into the Sec V Basketball Hall of Fame.

He was inducted as the all-time winning coach in history. Not bad at all, some might say downright impressive. Rapone wouldn’t. He would tell you it’s the players' achievement not his. Notre Dame celebrated the fete with basketball, fittingly with four games against Rapone’s hometown of Le Roy.



The Lady Irish varsity team dominated Le Roy and finished with a score of 41 to 33.




The Notre Dame boys varsity fought a playoff-intensity fight against Le Roy, that was back and forth for the first three quarters of the game. Notre Dame lost by a score of 48 to 65 when the game got away from them in the fourth quarter. 





Notre Dame hammers Kendall as Rapone earns 600th Win

By Nick Sabato

Notre Dame capitalized on a 14-2 run at the end of the first quarter to pull away from Kendall and earn head coach Mike Rapone his 600th career victory, 87-49.

After Kendall’s Dan Kelly connected on a three-pointer to tie the game at seven with two minutes remaining in the opening frame, the Fighting Irish came alive, scoring eight straight.

Jared Thornton scored the first six on the run, which was capped by an emphatic right-handed dunk by Tim McCulley to end the quarter.

Notre Dame never looked back.

Rapone became only the ninth coach in New York State history to achieve 600 wins, making Notre Dame Section V’s all-time leader in wins during the open-tournament era.

“For me, it’s a culmination of working with a lot of great young players and a lot of longevity,” Rapone said. “I hope that I impacted their lives in a little way as they matured into young men.”

Since becoming the head coach in 1980, Rapone has won 29 Genesee Region League Championships, eight Section V titles, five Far West Regional Championships and two State Championships.

Rapone became the all-time leader in Section V history in 2008, passing longtime Bishop Kearney coach Ed Nietopski with his 546th win, ironically against Kendall.

Despite the numerous accolades and number of wins, Rapone finds that working with his players on a day-to-day basis is just as rewarding as winning games.

“Winning is fun and it certainly makes coaching a lot easier, but just being out here every day with the guys is a good time and we work at it,” Rapone said.

One player who has had a chance to experience several milestones in the coach’s career is senior guard Vin Misiti, who has been a member of the Notre Dame basketball program since fourth grade when he became a team manager before becoming a player.

“It’s special. I’ve been watching him coach and watching Notre Dame teams for as long as I can remember,” Misiti said. “It’s just special to be a member of one of the many milestones for the school.”

Tommy Prospero poured in a game-high 28 points while adding eight rebounds and four steals for Notre Dame (14-0). Thornton also had a strong outing with 21 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks while McCulley chipped in 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.

“We continue to improve every week, which is what we want to do,” Rapone said. “Next week will tell a lot about us as we play Wheatland-Chili and University Prep to see if we are ready to take the next step.”

Kelly had a team-high 17 points for Kendall (7-6), as their five-game winning streak came to an end.

Photos by Howard Owens

To purchase prints of any of these photos or the ones in the slide show below, click here.

Rapone makes Section V history as Notre Dame rolls to playoff victory

By Howard B. Owens

The first thing Mike Rapone wanted to do after Notre Dame notched a Section V playoff victory Wednesday night in Gainsville was find his daughter.

They embraced at center court and fans, friends and family gathered round.

When the Rapones moved over closer to a sign bearing the numbers 546, Mike Rapone looked up at the crowd, still holding his daughter close, and for a second, the emotion of the moment was clear in his eyes and a quivering lip.

With a 60-41 victory over Arkport, the Fighting Irish clinched the final spot in the Section V Class D1 championship, and Mike Rapone became the all-time wins leader in Section V boys basketball.

"(The record) means a lot to me because it means so much to the people I coached over the years," Rapone said. "So many of them are here tonight. They’re the ones who won the games. I’m the coach. You steer the ship, but they’re the sailors. They do all of the hard work."

The 56-year-old Rapone has a shot at victory number 547 in the Blue Cross Arena at 11:45 a.m., Saturday, when the Irish face Fillmore.

A win Saturday would give Notre Dame its eighth Section V title under Rapone. The Irish have also notched two New York State championships, in 1992 and 2001.

Starting forward, senior Tom Rapone, said victory meant a lot to the team and to him personally.

"I’m so happy to be able to get it for my uncle," Rapone said. "He’s done so much for me in basketball. I always dreamed of playing for him in high school. The fact that I was able to help break the record for him as the last Rapone to come through Notre Dame High School, it’s just an amazing feeling."

Despite the lopsided total at the end, Arkport didn't make it easy for the Irish to get the win for Rapone. While the Irish led from start to finish, Arkport pulled close near the end of the half, and again near the end of the 3rd Quarter. Too many missed shots in the 4th quarter, though, allowed Notre Dame to pull well ahead.

"It’s sectionals and no team is going to quit," said Tom Rapone. "We just came together as a team. We’ve got great chemistry. We know how to play as a team. We can turn it up fast. That’s all thanks to our coach. He’s taught us great things in practice. It’s all thanks to him. He’s an amazing coach."

Even when Arkport pulled within three points late in the 3rd quarter, coach Rapone said he felt his team knew it was going to win the game.

"I don’t think they ever lost their confidence that they were going to win," the coach said. "That’s the mark of a winner and that’s why they’re 19-1."

More pictures pictures after the jump.




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