MERIDEN — Dave Parness was approved as the new Maloney boys basketball coach at the Meriden Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night.
Parness, 38, has been a freshman science teacher at Maloney for nine years and has coached the boys soccer team the last eight. Last fall, he led Maloney to the Class L state final.
This past winter was his first as an assistant under veteran head coach Howie Hewitt.
Hewitt stepped down from his post after 33 years last month. Later that week, he accepted the job as the Southington High School girls head coach.
Hewitt signed off from Maloney with a 457-285 record. He brought home the program's lone state title in 2008. Hewitt’s predecessor, Norb Fahey, compiled a 327-225 record in 27 years.
Parness is the fourth coach in Maloney boys basketball history. Bill Bundock coached Maloney in 1992-93 because Hewitt was forced to step down when he became athletic director. Hewitt returned the next season to basketball.
“It means a lot to get this job,” Parness said. “I’m following two big-time legends. It’s a big deal to get the Maloney job and to be in the same school where I coached basketball makes this an ideal job.”
Parness is a 1999 grad of North Branford, where he played soccer and basketball. His first high school coaching job was a freshman job at North Branford while he earned his Master’s in Education.
After that, he took a teaching gig in Stamford and briefly coached JV boys basketball at Staples-Westport. Then he served four years as a varsity assistant at Cromwell. He returned to North Branford as an assistant and took over the varsity head coaching job for five seasons.
Parness unexpectedly joined Hewitt’s bench this winter.
“There was a lot of things going on outside of basketball and I was planning on taking the year off and then the assistant job opened up at Maloney. Teaching at Maloney, it was a good fit,” Parness said.
The Durham resident said had no idea Hewitt was leaving and they never discussed anything beyond this season.
“Honest to God, we never had that discussion,” Parness said. “I never thought he would only be coaching one more year. I never asked. I assumed he was coming back.”
As a basketball coach, Parness said he wants to get the most out of his players.
“I think they will play hard on the defensive end,” Parness said. “That will be the first priority. The guys are going to play hard for 32 minutes. If they can do the little things, it can add up to big results. We need people to understand their roles and get as many contributors as we can. There are certain philosphies of how you want to play, but a lot of that depends on your personnel. We have to find our strengths and I have to fit my style to that group.”
Parness said he’s excited about coaching basketball in the Central Connecticut Conference.
“It will be fun,” Parness said. “The Shoreline was a good conference, but the CCC is one of the best in the state. It’s going to be fun coaching against those teams. I’m excited about this opportunity.”
Maloney AD Bob McKee said Parness brings a wealth of experience to the program.
“It’s going to be fun to see what he can do,” McKee said. “He’s been coaching a long time and we are excited. It’s also going to be good to have the coach in the building as an added bonus.”
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