Bisutti resigns as Scioto coach
Tony Bisutti's style -- and voice -- command attention.
That intensity and baritone worked hand-in-hand for the longtime Dublin Scioto High School boys basketball coach, who recently resigned after 18 seasons leading the Irish.
"He always seemed to get the best out of his teams, but we were lucky to have some athletes," said David McKinley, a member of the 2009 team who went on to play as a walk-on at Ohio University. "He was intense, but you always knew that he cared about his teams."
Bisutti, whose coaching career spanned nearly three decades and included a 270-136 record at Scioto, said the time was right to step down.
"There are a lot of things in coaching that you're not quite sure of, but one thing you're sure of is that when it's time to step aside, it's time," he said. "It was a good, long run. As coaches, you try to do it right. The thing that makes you most proud is hearing from the guys who do stay in contact and you know you've had an impact."
Bisutti has been making an impact at Scioto since he got the program up and running when the school opened in 1995.
His teams won six OCC championships, two Division I district titles and reached a 2009 regional final, where the Irish lost 54-53 in overtime to a Northland team that included future college All-Americans Jared Sullinger (Ohio State) and Trey Burke (Michigan).
Bisutti, 51, was twice named Ohio Coach of the Year by The Associated Press. He was honored four times as the Central District Coach of the Year and seven times by his OCC peers.
Bisutti was recruited to Scioto by former principal Marina Davis, who died in 2009.
The two had worked together at DeSales, where Bisutti got his coaching start under Vince Chickerella, who won a Class AA state championship in 1987. Chickerella died in 2011.
Bisutti was an assistant at DeSales for three seasons before he succeeded Chickerella in 1988. While there, he went 84-49 in six seasons.
After coaching two years at New Philadelphia, he made the move to Scioto, where he will continue to teach in the business department.
Bisutti, who has a 368-214 career record, was one of the last original coaches at Scioto. Only tennis coach Mike Wrigley and cross country and track and field coach Kevin Foley remain.
"I remember getting a lot of phone calls in that first season," said Kip Witchey, who spent 17 years as athletics director before becoming an assistant principal.
"He was kind of a shock to the system. Parents would say that he was too negative. I was just a 20-something athletic director at the time, but I knew his no-nonsense approach was going to be right for the program."
Bisutti's first team at Scioto went 7-15, but after that the Irish produced winning records in 12 of the next 13 seasons.
His final Scioto team, which included his son, Antonio, a senior, went 18-5 and lost 59-57 to Pickerington Central in the second round of the Division I district tournament. It was the Irish's first winning season since 2008-09.
"I don't know if he'll coach again, but he's meant the world to a ton of student-athletes," athletics director Nick Magistrale said. "I just feel personally that this is a huge loss for the Scioto family."
Bisutti isn't one for absolutes.
"I would feel stupid to say I'm never going to get back in if that happens five to 10 years from now," he said. "Once I started doing it, I kind of likened it to a good disease in a way. Maybe I can work on striking some balance in my life and, hopefully, my golf game will get better."