Before nearly every varsity game, there is a JV game. Unlike varsity games, you won't see JV scores in the paper. Not as many fans attend JV games.
But JV players and coaches pour in just as much blood, sweat, and tears as anyone, without the glory.
If there were ever two JV coaches who deserve a moment in the spotlight, it's Chris Salata '94 and Brian McLaughlin '94.
These two men have guided the JV Basketball Cats over the past five seasons, mentoring many promising young Saint Ignatius basketball players. Salata and McLaughlin, along with assistant coaches Ron Friedel ’94 and Bryan Fisher ’13, have prepared scores of Wildcats for the varsity level.
On Saturday, Salata and McLaughlin quietly enjoyed a proud moment. The dynamic duo tallied its 100th victory during a dominant 65-41 win, upping the career record to 100-19.
Head Coach Brian Becker '77 lauded Salata and McLaughlin on the special accomplishment.
"We can't be successful with good freshman and JV coaches. To have guys you trust, who will run systems, and treat the kids right is a huge help," Becker said. "These guys are respected in the community. They know the X's and O's and they treat kids right. It's great to have that comfort every week of practice knowing JV guys will be well-prepared for varsity. They bring out the best in terms of competitiveness and improving each player."
Under the direction of Salata and McLaughlin, the JV Cats have rolled to a 13-3 mark this season.
Beyond the records, many Wildcats have been brought up from the JV level without many growing pains. Much of the credit for smooth transitions belongs to Salata and McLaughlin.
Beyond basketball, Salata and McLaughlin have a close relationship with Becker and the varsity staff, which is vital.
"Chris played for me back in the day. Both guys who are pillars of the community," Becker said. "They're guys you want to be friends with. They are loyal and trustworthy. It's comforting to have guys you can trust. Sometimes you have guys you can't trust, and bad things happen. Having them eases my mind. Along with Ron and Bryan, the staff they have at JV level is a great, competent staff. They allow me to do what I need to do without any worries."
On behalf of Saint Ignatius athletics, congrats to Chris and Brian!