‘Recharged’ Matisi excited for new opportunity as McDonald girls head coach


The longtime Valley coach has 460 wins and 10 District Championships to his name, and now takes over one of the area's best programs

MCDONALD, Ohio (WKBN) – McDonald basketball will look much different next season, with both the boys and girls programs under new leadership. 

Thursday night, the McDonald school board officially approved Tony Matisi as the girls head coach, while Jim Franceschelli was named the boys head coach.

Matisi’s resume speaks for itself, with 460 wins and 10 District Championships in 35 years pacing the sidelines. Born and raised in Lowellville, he started his head-coaching career with the Ursuline girls.
Then, he spent 15 years with his hometown Lowellville Rockets and six more with South Range. Last season, he served as an assistant with the Springfield boys and now he lands at McDonald.

“It’s recharged me so much in the last two weeks,” said Matisi. “I just want to get going, and I wish we could get into the gym because it’s going to be tough for the girls with a new coach and learning a new system.”

Matisi takes over for Amy Dolsak, who led the program to 112 wins over the past 8 seasons. The two have developed a close bond in recent years.

“I would call her a couple times during the season; she would call me,” said Matisi. “We’ve had a great relationship, and when she found out I had got the job, she was thrilled.”

Matisi may be the most-envied coach in the Valley. He takes over a loaded McDonald roster with everyone back from their District Championship run this past season.

“We’re not going to change a thing; we’re just going to add things,” he said. “We’re going to try to run the floor a little bit more, try to pressure a little bit more. I think if you don’t have to run an offense that’s great, we’re going to look for transition.”

Matisi is an intense, high-energy guy and his teams typically follow suit on the court. Now, in his fourth head-coaching gig, he also brings more experience and perspective.

“You know, I’m still hard-headed. I have three sons, and they all coach. Zach still says I’m too stubborn and won’t listen to anybody, but I think I’ve grown a little bit the last few years and I start listening to people a little bit more. [But with McDonald], I couldn’t think of a better situation for me.”

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