Former star to lead Comets basketball team

A Steele graduate will lead the Comets boys varsity basketball team next year.

The board of education is expected Monday to approve the hiring of Pat Bray as the new head coach.

He will replace former head coach John Srnis, who resigned in May.

Bray graduated from Amherst in 1988 and played basketball and baseball for the Comets.

Athletic director Casey Wolf received 20 applications for the head coach position but Bray was exactly what Wolf wanted at Steele.

“Throughout the interview process it was clear that Pat is ready to be a strong leader,” Wolf said. “He stood out through the entire process.”

Bray has been the Comets assistant basketball coach since 2010 and was an assistant for the Black River High School Pirates between 2007 and 2010.

Wolf said the relationship Bray has with the student-athletes at Steele was very important.

“It was a dream of mine to be the head coach here,” Bray said.

He was a member of the 1987 conference championship basketball team and the 1988 conference championship baseball team.

“I would love these kids here at Steele to have those same memories,” Bray said of his aspirations for a championship run.

The Comets are only returning one varsity player next year. His boys are also smaller than most teams they’ll face.

Yet the new coach isn’t worried and is impressed by the athletes’ work ethic.

“We have a great group of kids here that are working hard,” he said. “We’re going to be a defensive-minded team. We’re going to get after people.”

Bray already has his squad leading drills for the Amherst youth players to develop a crop of stars to last for years.

“We’re going to do a lot with our youth programs,” he said. “I want my high school players as much involved as possible.”

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-988-2801 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.