Lou Cicciari has returned to his alma mater at Granada Hills High as boys’ basketball coach, and he can hardly believe it.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Cicciari, 33, who graduated from Granada Hills in 1977. “I’m going home.”
Cicciari was the favorite for the position. While in college, he started assisting former Coach Bob Johnson, who eventually asked Cicciari to coach the junior varsity.
After coaching the junior varsity at Granada Hills from 1981-91, Cicciari spent the past two seasons coaching the sophomore team at Hoover.
“We know that he can do the job,” said Irv Burch, an assistant principal at Granada Hills. “You always like the home-grown favorite. Lou is a unique, neat human being.”
To be sure, Cicciari isn’t the typical coach, at least in physical terms. He had both legs amputated above the thighs at age 7 after he contracted a blood disorder that threatened to spread to his internal organs. Cicciari has nonetheless been active in wheelchair basketball and other sports.
Cicciari replaces Johnson, who retired in the spring after 14 seasons as the varsity coach and 25 seasons in the program.
Cicciari takes on a daunting challenge. The Highlanders are 6-38 over the past two seasons and 1-19 in Northwest Valley Conference play.