Longtime Rams junior varsity coach is excited to take over the varsity program
Rudy Fraraccio always wanted to be a head varsity boys basketball coach.
However, the longtime Riverview High junior varsity coach thought he wouldn’t get the opportunity.
“I thought that ship passed me by,” Fraraccio said. “Now that that boat is at my dock, I’m just gonna step on it.”
Named the Rams’ interim coach May 22, Riverview High officially named Fraraccio head coach on Tuesday. He replaces BJ Ivey, who took an administrative position with the Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team.
“I definitely wanted this job,” Fraraccio said. “I know all these kids. I get to follow a great man like BJ Ivey. He established a great program.”
Familiarity with the players was Fraraccio’s selling point to the Riverview High administration and Rams athletic director Rod Dragash. In fact, Fraraccio helped form the Suncoast Mambas AAU travel team.
“I told our administrators and athletic director I’ve known many of these players since grammar school,” Fraraccio said. “I coached them and worked with them in travel ball and junior varsity.”
The 58-year-old Fraraccio coached the Rams’ junior varsity from 2014 to 2019, posting an 88-26 record.
“A lot of what I did on the JV, the varsity did,” he said.
After being named interim coach, Fraraccio prepared for last weekend’s Lakewood Ranch High Summer Shootout.
“We worked on being intense and physical,” he said. “We put in a couple of sets for man and zone on offenses.”
And the Rams won all three games.
“We had 21 assists in one of those games,” Fraraccio said. “I told the kids this is summer, and the games don’t count, but they do matter. You have to come with energy and effort.”
A graduate of Cardinal Mooney, where he played basketball, baseball and football, Fraraccio’s philosophy is, “Good defense, get rebounds, and run and score in transition and execute when we have to. Chemistry is big for me. Floor balance and spacing are very important. It’s simple.”
Running an entire program, on the other hand, will be a new experience.
“I’m gonna need help with that,” Fraraccio said.
He did secure Riverview’s assistant coaches: Troy Robbins, Brian Drechsler, Mark Wade, Brandon Connect and Marquis Robinson.
The Rams are scheduled to attend a camp at FGCU this weekend and likely will run into Ivey, who has started his new job with in Fort Myers.
The rest of the summer will include basketball camps in Bradenton and at IMG Academy.
Fraraccio plans to give the players July off so they can concentrate on AAU travel games, but they may be able to squeeze in some weightlifting sessions.
After that, he plans to hit the ground running — “I’m excited,” Fraraccio said.