PANAGGIO, Mauro & Dan CBA Coaches 1992
40 DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE, ROCHESTER, N.Y., FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 1992 Panaggios are enjoying occasional CBA coaching encounters By Jim Litke The Associated Press ROCKFORD, 111. Mauro Panaggio isn't much different from fathers everywhere everywhere in that he wants the world for his son. Except, that is, for the 48 minutes every couple of weeks when their worlds collide. Literally. Mauro Panaggio, 64, is coach of the Rockford Lightning and dean of the Continental Continental Basketball Association. Dan Panaggio, Panaggio, 37, the second oldest of his six children, is the rookie coach of the Quad City Thunder Thunder of that same CBA circuit. Panaggio vs. Panaggio might sound like the pilot for a network sitcom or working title of a case in divorce court somewhere. In fact, it is the only father-son father-son father-son coaching confrontation in the history of professional sports in the United States. "I never tried to point any of my kids in any direction," Mauro said yesterday afternoon, afternoon, several hours before the third battle this season between the Thunder and Lightning and him and Dan. "Two of -my -my boys wound up in business and another is a minister. minister. My two daughters used to work as teachers, teachers, but now they've gone ' into business with their older brother. brother. "Since he was little, Dan was the only one uhrt pvpr trtnlr an in. terest in my profes- profes- Dan Panaggio sion. And it's just my luck," Mauro said, shaking his head slowly, "that all of the others had the good sense to listen to the advice the old man gave them." It is not hard to imagine the strain this father-son father-son father-son rivalry has put on the rest of the Panaggios even before you know that Dan won the first two meetings. Rita, who married one of them and gave birth to the other, can't sit in the stands. With the exception of Mike, Dan's older brother and his father's most ardent supporter, supporter, none of the siblings have dared to take sides publicly at least. Dan II, Dan's 10-year-old 10-year-old 10-year-old 10-year-old 10-year-old son and one of Mauro's 11 grandchildren, spent most of the day before the historic Panaggio vs. Pannagio I on Feb. 15 playing with grandpa and then let it be known where his sympathies sympathies resided. Needless to say, his father refused to let him on the bus yesterday until he had taken a loyalty oath. "Everybody is trying to be diplomatic, but I knew my dad would have the edge inside the family," Dan said, "if only because because of the sympathy vote. "But I think they're starting to lean my way. I just sense it I mean, my dad's already the winningest coach in CBA history history and his team hasn't got a shot at the championship. This is my first year and we've actually got a chance to win this thing." After hearing the father and son talk, it should come as little surprise that the one quality each sees mirrored most in the other is competitiveness. What might be surprising, though, is the long and profitable profitable partnership they fostered in the spirit of cooperation. Dan, a major college prospect in high school, turned down a number of Division I offers to play for his father at Division III Brockport State. While there, he broke the school scoring record set by his brother, Mike, who had broken the record established established by none other than their father. It was about that same time that Mauro began the heart-to-heart heart-to-heart heart-to-heart heart-to-heart heart-to-heart talks with Dan. "All my kids played sports, but Dan was always the student of the game, the one who never left my side," the elder Panaggio recalled. "He was never afraid to ask me why I did this or that . . . and then he'd take this or that and find a way to fit it into his own personality. "I told him all about the problems. The gut-wrenching gut-wrenching gut-wrenching decisions, the way it plays on your emotions, the turmoil, the travel, the time it takes you away from your family. Everything. "And the last thing I told him," Mauro said, "is that you better really love it." Dan chuckled softly at hearing the advice one more time. "No matter what he says, I think he takes pride in the fact that I followed in his foosteps. I don't know how he couldn't," Dan said. "I don't think he necessarily thinks it's the ideal profession for anybody there are so many pitfalls . . . But I think even the bad thinps he told me, he told me in a halfhearted halfhearted way, because I think he knew that I was too committed by the time we started talking." The accommodation went smoothly over the next few years. After Dan completed successful coaching stints at McQuaid Jesuit Jesuit High School and Monroe Community College, Mauro, then coaching the CBA's Thunder, put him on his staff as an assistant assistant They spent three seasons together and Dan took over at the helm in Quad City when Mauro retired after the 1990-91 1990-91 1990-91 season. season. All would have been well had it ended there. But when Rockford got off to a 3-15 3-15 3-15 start this season under Coach Lanny Van Eman, Lightning management tried to coax the elder Panaggio out of retirement. Before he accepted the offer, father called son to make sure that nothing between between them would change except of ' course, those 48 minutes a few times each season. "And it hasn't," Mauro pointed out quickly. "I lose, I buy him dinner. I win, I still have to buy him dinner."