Cardozo Coach Ron Naclerio is honored at City Hall
BY DAVID RUSSELL
Cardozo head basketball coach Ron Naclerio was honored with a City Hall proclamation last week to celebrate his becoming the public school’s all-time wins leader.
“When City Hall calls, you know you’ve done something good or you’ve done something bad, and I know I’ve done something good,” Naclerio said.
Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) said he had a personal connection to the event, which involved more than Naclerio’s work in his district.
“It’s especially important for me today because you can see I have a Cardozo hat and this hat was worn by my son, David, who is now a student at Oneonta, but he was a varsity athlete,” Grodenchik told Naclerio. “He was a football player and he was also a JV baseball player, so I’m very excited as a Cardozo alum parent to be here with you, coach.”
The coach was the subject of an SNY documentary “Naclerio 723” after he became the wins leader in the PSAL. His 755th career win in December gave him the lead of all public school coaches.
“I’m just honored to be here,” Naclerio said. “It’s hitting me now more because people [who] want to help New York City, make New York City great, are honoring me, so they might think I have something positive.”
Naclerio, who brought his team to City Hall, started as head coach in the early 1980s and has sent nearly 100 players to Division I schools, including NBA players Rafer Alston and Royal Ivey.
“I’ve been blessed,” Naclerio said. “I’ve had great people at Cardozo, administrators. I’ve had great assistant coaches, we have a new principal over here, athletic director, assistant principal, but I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for young men like these that have played for me. So, I want my players to be honored.”
Naclerio said one of his greatest inspirations has been his late father, Emil, a surgeon who saved Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after a 1958 attack.
“I have no idea how much longer I’m gonna go, but I’ve still got the love, I hope God blesses me to go several more years and I think the reason I’m here is because of my father,” Naclerio said.