Domenic Silvaggio’s name has been synonymous with basketball coaching excellence and the success of his teams over the years have made him one of the best at his craft – not just locally, but provincially.
For 34 years Silvaggio patrolled the sidelines, almost all of them at General Amherst High School. He coached both boys and girls’ teams to lofty heights but his most noteworthy success came with coaching the girls’ teams. With Silvaggio at the helm, his teams won 26 WECSSAA/ECSSAA titles, 13 SWOSSAA championships, as well as 10 OFSAA Medals at the AA or AAA level – 5 of them gold. From 2004-2007, Silvaggio’s juggernaut captured four consecutive OFSAA golds.
Silvaggio’s high school coaches from his youth inspired him to follow their lead. “They taught me how to give back,” he reflected.
While his mentors inspired him to start coaching, the fun Silvaggio received from the thrill of competition is what kept him working the sidelines. He enjoyed matching up with the great coaches of the local area. “I think they made me a better coach because I had to work hard to try to compete with their teams,” Silvaggio said.
Silvaggio did more than compete. He won and won a lot. Silvaggio was the winning coach in more 600 high school basketball games and when his illustrious career was winding down, he refused to take his foot of the gas. In his final 10 years as a coach (2004-2013), the skipper of the Bulldogs coached his teams to a 152-4 record.
It is little wonder that Silvaggio’s players went on to have success on the hardcourt after graduating from General Amherst – many playing at the university level in Canada or the United States.
Silvaggio is also the founder and president of the Amherstburg Basketball Club and worked with that organization for 22 years. Through the club, thousands of local elementary school-aged kids gained meaningful exposure to the sport. Membership in the club allowed some young players excellent opportunities of playing basketball competitions in Nevada, Florida, California and Arizona. Through these basketball trips, memories were created for a lifetime.
It was a busy schedule but Silvaggio says that being a hard worker and pushing to improve were the keys to his success in basketball. “I didn’t want to get outworked and I definitely got that from my parents,” he said. “I was also constantly learning, whether it was from watching other coaches, reading and researching or going to clinics.”
Silvaggio says his contributions and accomplishments would not have been possible without the support of his wife, Susan, and his children, Stephen and Kim. It takes an understanding family, he says, to allow him the evenings and weekends he spent away from them.
The Windsor Essex County Sports Hall of Fame is honoured to welcome Domenic Silvaggio as an inductee into the builder category for his success as a basketball coach.