By RUSSELL JONES
WEST RUTLAND — By any means of measurement, this has been a year of unrivaled success for the West Rutland girls’ athletic department. And Carl Serrani, as the figurehead of those girls’ teams, has had one of the best years of his career.
In March, Serrani led his Golden Horde hoops team to the state championship, capping it off with a 39-33 win over Blue Mountain. In June, as assistant coach to his wife Laurie, Carl helped navigate the lady Horde’s path to Castleton for the state softball championship, along with another win over Blue Mountain, 19-9.
Along the way, he picked up his 300th hard-court win and now he has been selected to enter the Vermont Basketball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.
Although the VBCA won’t officially induct him into their hall of fame until next March — they hold their ceremony the week after the state finals wrap up — they said it wasn’t much of a debate about his acceptance.
“When we sat down and looked at his resume, everyone said ‘Oh he’s a no-brainer, of course he’s going in,’” said Dave Fredrickson, executive director of the VBCA. “We’ll hold the ceremony next March, but it wasn’t much of a question whether he would be going in or not.”
When asked what being named to the VBCA Hall of Fame meant to him, Serrani deadpanned, “It means I’ve been there a long time.”
Longevity in coaching, all joking aside, is one of the benchmarks of success. Famous Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz once said, “Coaching is nothing more than eliminating mistakes before you get fired.”
Serrani, a West Rutland alumnus, has been able to eliminate mistakes and over the years has developed the West Rutland program into one of the most successful Division IV programs in the state.
His hoops team lifted the championship trophy in Barre in 2006, 2010 and again this past March. In 2017, he led his softball team to a state crown and assisted this season’s state championship team.
Sure, the wins and the hardware are great, but that’s not what motivates him.
“It’s all the great kids I’ve coached over the years,” the 61-year-old coach said about what he is most proud of throughout his 20 years of coaching. “It’s been the dedication of all those kids that has led to the success we’ve had.”
This year he was especially proud to see his girls lift that trophy in the Barre Auditorium because his niece, Kasey Serrani, was a senior on the team.
“She got one in softball, too,” Carl said with pride in his voice. “It was fantastic, it felt great.”
With the Hall of Fame coaching award claimed, is the competitive fire inside quenched? Not at all. Serrani will be back on the floor next basketball season leading his team to the state finals once again, if at all possible.
“It’s the kids,” he said. “The kids keep me coming back.”