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Cassara adds flare to his coaching style

March 30, 2011 Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Mo Cassara was hired in May to take on the men’s basketball program at Hofstra University, administrators, students, fans, and the media all had one question – “Who is Mo Cassara?” Cassara was originally hired as an assistant under Tim Welch. After Welch resigned after receiving a DUI, Cassara was chosen to lead the Pride this season.

“I could walk from one end of campus to the other, and no one knew who I was” said Cassara. He knew it was going to take some work to let everyone know who he was and what he stood for. Cassara used social media as a means to create a positive buzz on campus and in the community.

“I’m going to do this a little differently than they’ve done in the past,” said Cassara. “I’m going to give this a different flare. The social media has been a great vehicle for that.” He certainly has made the most out of Facebook and Twitter as he has close to 1,800 and 1,500 friends and followers respectively.

Cassara spends approximately 2 hours a day responding to messages on Facebook and Twitter. “It’s important to me that the students and community feel like they can interact with me. It really gave me credit with the students, and got them to come out to our games.” In fact, Cassara is so involved with social networking that he even carries an extra phone around strictly for that reason.

Facebook and Twitter weren’t the only means of getting people to attend the games. Having senior standout Charles Jenkins on the court certainly brought a lot of positive attention to the Hofstra Basketball program.

“Charles Jenkins helped me get through last year. He really stepped up and lead the younger guys, and taught them how to deal with the media” said Cassara.

With the times changing, Cassara felt he could use social networking as a way to get ahead on other schools with recruiting. “I have used Facebook and Twitter as a means to communicate with potential recruits. I think it goes a long way when they see that a college coach is sending them a message at 6:00am – No other coach is out there doing that” said Cassara.

Facebook played a crucial role in his recruitment with Malik Nichols, as he has a speech impediment that could have made the recruiting process difficult. Facebook was a way for the two to communicate easily.

Mo Cassara thought he was 24 hours away from being out of this business. He has been through a rollercoaster year with losing his job at Boston College, and having to deal with an unfortunate situation here at Hofstra under head coach Tim Welch. Cassara didn’t let that stop him from getting the basketball program on track finishing the year with a 20-12 record. Social media has been a key component in creating a positive buzz about Hofstra Basketball. Cassara looks forward to building on the program in hopes for another successful season.

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More than Talent – Olivia Galati

March 16, 2011 Leave a comment
Olivia Galati at age nine practicing in her basementHofstra Softball's Olivia Galati

This season Galati currently holds a 1.52 ERA in 78.1 innings of work with 96 strikeouts.

Softball fans on Long Island don’t have to travel far to watch one of the best Division I Softball programs in the country. All they have to do is drive off the Meadowbrook Parkway at Hempstead Turnpike, and they’re about a half a mile from seeing the Hofstra Softball Stadium.

When you think of Hofstra Softball, there is usually one name that comes to mind – Olivia Galati. This name might ring a bell, because she is a standout pitcher who graduated from St. John the Baptist High School in West Islip, NY in 2009. Galati is arguably one of the most successful pitchers to come out of Long Island. Sure, a lot has to do with her God given talent, but her success comes from her passion and dedication to the sport.

At 9 years old, Galati spent most of her nights pitching to her father in their basement. At age 10, she approached her mother one morning and said, “Mom, you’re not going to pay for me to go to college, I am going to get a scholarship.” Galati says her father was the driving force to her success, because he motivated her at such a young age. Even today as she takes the mound for the Hofstra Pride she can still hear her father’s voice inside her, pushing her every pitch.

Most would assume that since she has such a great relationship with her father, it was the reason she chose to stay close to home, but that wasn’t the case. “I chose Hofstra because it has always been on my list of schools, I grew up around the corner, and attended most games when I was little. Early on in the recruiting process I wanted to go far, but then I came here and fell in love with the coaching staff and deep down I wanted to be near my family, and I wanted them to be able to see the final product -being the best player I could be,” said Galati.

“The thing that makes Olivia so special is that she can make the big pitch in the big situation. She knows when she needs to be at her best. We have had pitchers here who were extremely talented, but would give in to the moment. Olivia’s “refuse to lose” attitude is what makes her an amazing competitor” says Associate Head Coach, Larissa Anderson.

Not only does Olivia know when to make the big pitch, but she also knows when to be laid back and joke around. If there is one thing you notice about her outside of softball it is that she is always smiling and laughing. She has the ability to be goofy one minute and then serious and ready to compete the next, which most young student-athletes have a hard time balancing.

“I always like to have fun, if I’m not laughing I’m going to think too much, it helps me relax. There are times where I am able to let loose but for the most part I follow my instincts and know when it is appropriate to goof around. When I’m on the mound, I’m all business,” says Galati.

There isn’t a softball team in the country that would argue with her there. Last year she recorded a 26-7 record with a 1.60 ERA and 294 strikeouts, tying a school record for wins and ranking second all time for strikeouts. She was named the 2010 Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year, CAA Rookie of the Year, Eastern College Athletic Rookie of the Year, First Team All CAA, and First Team NFCA All-Northeast Region.

This season Galati is one of 50 players in the country named to the initial watch list for the 10th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. She has already captured CAA Pitcher of the Week twice.

“I think it’s my attitude and my confidence on the mound that separate me from the rest, and that developed at a young age. The tough mentality that I have developed over the years came from my Dad. He wouldn’t let me finish practice until I made the perfect pitch. I never got away with anything.  I sure owe him a lot for mentally preparing me for this level.”

Whether it’s because she’s talented, makes big pitches in big situations, or is able to balance “business” and social life, Olivia Galati is undoubtedly one of the most, if not the most successful pitcher to come out of Long Island. There isn’t any one reason about her that makes her so special. It’s her drive, her passion, and her dedication to this game that makes her uniquely different from any other pitcher in the country.  For all the young softball players on the Island, you have a great role model to look up to in Olivia Galati.

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