Stories from behind the bench
When Frank DeVito showed up to the Richie Regan Field House on Monday, he treated it like any regular day in the life of a manager on the basketball team.
He walked upstairs, smiled and said hello to Secretary Mary Laverty, passed assistant coach Shaheen Holloway and shook his hand and paid head coach Kevin Willard a wave as he walked past his office; only this time it was different. He just kept walking until he got to the exit of the building. It was then that DeVito finally realized his services were no longer needed.
“I just can’t believe it’s over,” DeVito said.
DeVito started his run as the team’s manager for the 2010-11 season when he was a freshman, the same year Willard and his staff first entered the program.
Growing up the son of two Seton Hall alumni, DeVito was raised watching the school’s basketball games and decided he wanted to be a part of the team before he enrolled in classes.
“I was obsessed with the team,” DeVito said. “I followed all the games and all that stuff so I wanted to get involved someway, somehow.”
DeVito is currently majoring in finance and management and intends to graduate in May. He already has a job lined up after graduation at New Bridge Securities, a financial investment firm.
Four years spent behind the bench for the Pirates have shown DeVito the importance of a strong work ethic.
“It’s a grind, it’s every day,” DeVito said. “I’m there longer than the players are, I’m there two hours before hand, two hours afterwards and practices were three hours so it’s a very long day so balancing that with school is obviously going to help me in the real world when I have deadlines and that kind of stuff.”
DeVito said he also learned to stay committed to something if there is some personal worth in it, as well as remaining focused during some extreme work hours, even on breaks and holidays. Part of this personal growth for DeVito was the ability to develop good friendships with some of the guys on the team.
“I can’t say there was anybody I didn’t like,” DeVito said. “Obviously a guy like Fuquan (Edwin), we came in together, if he saw me here right now he’d come over and have a conversation with me.”
As far as his relationship with Willard, DeVito saw the four-year head coach as something more than a friend.
“I don’t want to sound clich?©, but he’s really taken me under his wing,” DeVito said, “Obviously coming in at the same time, he was new, I was new and right before school started my dad died, it was a week before school started. I came into Seton Hall, I had a lot of things going on at home but I also wanted to keep my mind right. I asked coach if there was anything I could do and he knew, he was almost like a father-figure to me in college and the whole coaching staff really took me un- der their wing and it was really something special.”
DeVito cites last week’s Big East Tournament victory as one of his favorite moments as a manager, but the game that truly stuck out in his mind was his first road trip to Syracuse as a freshman.
“We won by I think 25 or 30 and I told my mom I was going on the trip and I was going to miss like four classes to go on the trip, so she told me not to go. I ended up going and we end up beating Syracuse and were all over SportsCenter, and she saw me on SportsCenter and I got in trouble for it, so that was a cool moment.”
Gerard Gilberto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.