John Miressi: Face of the Salesian Basketball Legacy?

By Andrew Bondarev ’22

Andrew Bondarev: As a student, what were your memories here at Salesian?

Mr. Miressi: Probably the fondest memory that I had was the concern the teachers, brothers, and priests had for me as an individual. They went out of their way to make sure that I was successful.

AB: What influence did that have on you later as a coach?

Mr. Miressi: They taught me how to treat people fairly. They taught me how to reach my full potential and how important prayer and God was. That was really important. They also taught me that if much is given to you, much is expected from you, and I’ve tried to follow that since I graduated.

AB: After you graduated, have you carried that mindset in all situations even outside of work and coaching?

Mr. Miressi: I’ve tried to do that in everything that I do. I try to do that in everything that I get involved in, and I want to be the best that I can be. It’s the foundation that I received from Salesian that has helped me in my future endeavors, and it’s really not until you get older that you realize how important the Salesian education is.

AB: What made you want to become a coach in the future?

Mr. Miressi: It goes back to what I was taught here, what I was taught by my parents. The reinforcement that I received from Salesian that it’s very important to give back. If you can’t give money, give your time. If you can give both, give both. I’m really concerned about the direction our youth is taking today, and I try to get involved and steer them in the right direction. The future of our country and the world is really dependent on how the youth has been brought up.

AB: What is the best part about coaching varsity?

Mr. Miressi: The best part is forming relationships with the players, and then seeing them every year, renewing all of our stories, and seeing how successful they become. I’ve been really lucky. A lot of the players that I’ve coached have gone on to play college basketball and been pretty successful while coming back to Salesian. I’m really proud of them, not too many have strayed in the wrong direction. It’s the bond that we create, which is a real Salesian bond. I’m really happy that they’ve been successful.

AB: What makes Salesian basketball different from the other teams of the Archdiocese?

Mr. Miressi: I don’t know if it’s so much different, team-wise. I think the big difference is the bond that is created, with me personally, with my coaches, and with the school. I think that’s really important, I think we do a really good job of displaying to our student-athletes how important it is to understand the whole family atmosphere that Salesian is all about.

AB: This clearly goes beyond basketball, but just zeroing in on basketball itself, what is the Salesian mentality in each game? Is there an emphasis on team play, etc.?

Mr. Miressi: The emphasis has always been first on commitment. Not only commitment to the school, but commitment to yourself. What I do that has been successful for me is, in most things in life, you can fall back and make some sort of comparison to a sporting event. If you look at all of the CEOs, Presidents, they were all college and high school athletes. There’s a correlation, I believe, between athletics and success. Not that you can’t be successful doing other things, but I think there’s a direct correlation. 

AB: At the same time, if you were to coach a different sport ever in your life, what would be that sport?

Mr. Miressi: Probably baseball, but it wouldn’t matter what sport, you would still have to apply the same principles to any sport that you coach. The only difference is the rules.

AB: In terms of Salesian High School itself, do you think it’s moving in a positive direction?

Mr. Miressi: I think the school is moving in a positive direction. I think Father Serio has done a phenomenal job of rallying his staff, his administrators, to be positive. I think the school helps so many kids, we have good leadership, and we need to keep that going. The administrators are very good at hiring new teachers, and I see a lot of positives in what’s going on.

AB: Lastly, do you see yourself as the face of the Salesian basketball legacy? Do you want to be remembered in that way?

Mr. Miressi: I don’t want to be remembered – period. I just want to do what I have to do. My satisfaction comes with seeing my student-athletes being successful. It’s not about me. I have enough championships, honors, everything else, it’s really not about me. It’s about the school maintaining their mission statement, and it’s about our students being successful. Every year Father John has the saying, and I think we just need to stick with that saying, “we expect success”.  We want every student to be successful, productive, and positive citizens.