SAYBROOK TOWNHIP — Jon Mannarino saw the Lakeside boys basketball head coaching position as an opportunity to build a long-term program.
He will have a chance to accomplish that mission.
Mannarino, 30, was approved as the Dragons head coach Wednesday night, replacing Rob Pisano.
“I’m extremely honored and humbled to become the head boys basketball coach at Lakeside,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with our young student-athletes on building a winning culture.
“I believe that we will put together a product that will make our school and community excited about Lakeside Dragon basketball.”
Mannarino, a 2007 Walsh Jesuit graduate, has coached at Walsh, Beachwood and Hawken. He was head coach at Beachwood for two seasons, stepping down after the 2017-18 campaign. He finished with 29 wins, including 17 in his first season.
Last year, Mannarino was an assistant coach at Hawken.
“I’ve met (Lakeside Athletic Director) Jason (Baxter) before,” he said. “This place can be successful.”
Baxter added, “Coach Mannarino continues a string of coaching hires meant to change the culture at Lakeside High School and prepare us to be competitive as we transition into the CVC (Chagrin Valley Conference).
“Jon Mannarino is a program builder. He helped build Beachwood into a perennial winner. He has a vision from our youth to high school that we have needed at Lakeside. He also has a track record of running basketball camps and training basketball athletes. Coach Mannarino is a highly-qualified basketball mind that will take our basketball program to the next level.”
Mannarino likes the early results of his new team.
“The guys are showing up and working hard,” he said.
“We have Sean McKee and Marquise West returning,” Mannarino said. “And Brandon Ford has high-level potential. He has that ability to be that player to turn a program into a success. We have a lot of good youth players for building long-term success.”
Ford was a first-team all-county selection and honorable mention Division I Northeast District choice.
Mannarino said his game plan offensively is to play to the team’s strengths.
“We want to play fast, up-tempo,” he said. “We have a lot of guard who shoot it.”
The defensive plan is similar.
“We want to pressure and create a little havoc,” Mannarino said.
This season, Lakeside is out of the AAC and moving into the expanded Chagrin Valley Conference.
“The competition is great,” Mannarino said. “We play Edgewood twice, Harvey, Perry, Geneva, Beachwood and West Geauga. Those are good teams night in and night out. Being in the CVC, I know what it takes to have success.”
Mannarino said it will take a team effort to build the program.
“We have to show them ways to win,” he said. “At the end of the day, they have to want it. We have a plan in place. We’re allowed 10 days. We have to be hungry to win every day.”
At Walsh, Mannarino played football and basketball. He played three years of college basketball and graduated from Thomas More College in Kentucky with a business administration degree.
Mannarino is scheduled to be a tutor at LHS. He also owns Cleveland Titans Elite, which is an organization focused on helping young players get to the next level and reach their goals on and off the court.
At Beachwood, he was a varsity assistant under Matt Miller when the Bison finished 22-3 and won a conference title.
Mannarino said he’s taken pieces of information from different coaches.
“My high school coach, John Norris, got me started,” Mannarino said. “I learned from him to control the controllables. With Matt, he helped me with the differences between a private and public school. I also learned from TJ Kwasniak (who just resigned as Euclid’s boys basketball coach) and Sean Weatherspoon (who was just hired as Maple Heights’ boys basketball).”
Mannarino is still working on a building a coaching staff, but said Matt Newsome is scheduled to be a varsity assistant.
Mannarino lives in Mentor with his wife, Bryanna and daughter, Miabella, 2.
The first youth camp for students of the Ashtabula Area City Schools is slated from July 15-19 at Lakeside High School. The Dragons are scheduled to open the 2019-20 regular season against Girard on Nov. 29.