Accomplished coach looks toward stellar performance on and off of the court
Ryan Nemeth has worn many hats. He is director of the Pete and Jameer Nelson Foundation, former assistant coach at IMG Academy in Florida and was most recently assistant at Eastern University in Wayne. We can now add boys’ basketball coach of Cardinal O’Hara to that list, and he is looking forward to this next gig.
“It’s an exciting opportunity as a coach, but I think its most exciting for the players in the program,” said Nemeth, who served as a graduate assistant at Temple under coach Fran Dunphy for three seasons from 2009-2011, as well. “Every night, we will face great players and coaches. There is so much pride and tradition in the Philadelphia Catholic League. It’s an honor to be part of it. I know we will have our work cut out for us this year and in the future, but I know our guys are hungry to make a name for themselves.”
O’Hara has been at the bottom of the league for most of the last three decades, but Nemeth has a plan to get the Lions to compete for the titles that the school hasn’t seen since the 1980s. “I have a number of goals,” he said. “The first is to focus on player development and invest in them. With such a young team, it is absolutely crucial that they have all the opportunities available to them, year-round, to be successful, including study hall, open gyms, high level competitions, and strength/athletic training. Next is to make sure Cardinal O’Hara is the top choice for incoming students at the junior high level. We will be hosting numerous camps, clinics, and tournaments, so everyone can experience what we have to offer as a high school program. The third thing is to focus on positioning our student-athletes so they have as many opportunities available to them after they graduate as possible. That includes both academic and athletic scholarships. Lastly, our program’s goal is to play in the Palestra every year and compete for district, league and state championships.”
Nemeth is busy currently running summer camps with, and for, Jameer Nelson, a 16-year NBA veteran from Chester who’s now a free agent. “Being one of the leaders of the organization and working with Jameer and the team has been an amazing opportunity,” he said. “Especially with the work we have done for young people in the Chester and surrounding communities. Jameer is someone I look up to because of who he is as a person and a teammate.”
He added: “Over the past few years we have continued to expand the Nelson Summer Basketball Academy and allow younger players to attend at no cost. In addition, we are heading into the second year of our Lead Guard Invitational which allows for some of the best players in the area an opportunity to work out with Jameer for three days; to learn what it takes to make it to the next level as a student-athlete and as a person.”
Nemeth got his start as a player at Bishop Hoban in the Wilkes-Barre area and was mentored by his father, who coached the ladies at a high school in Wilkes-Barre for over 20 years. “He might have been the more excited than me about the opportunity than I was,” he said. “We have talked nearly every day since I was hired and it’s pretty cool to be able to share this experience with him. He will be serving as a long-distance consultant.”
Nemeth liked Cardinal O’Hara from the start when he first heard about the opening. “I saw an opportunity to make a positive impact on young student-athletes through coaching, and that was very intriguing for me,” he said.
“Throughout the interview process with the search committee and administration I could tell how passionate they are about the program, school and the mission. That made the opportunity even more exciting knowing that they want to develop quality people, students and athletes.”
Nemeth played at Kutztown University before moving on to Temple. As a high school player, he led Hoban to a 54-3 record in his junior and senior seasons. “The game has been great to me so far, I can’t wait to be part of this next journey.”