Palmyra-Macedon varsity boys basketball coach Trevor Sanders Friday was announced as the Section Five Class B1 Coach of the Year.
The fourth-year head coach received the honor for the first time in his career following a season that saw the Red Raiders finish with a winning regular season record for the second-straight year.
The team also clinched its division, the Finger Lakes East Division, for the first time in 22 years. Additionally, the team earned a spot as the fourth seed in the Section Five Class B tournament with a chance to move beyond last year's semifinal finish.
Sanders said he received several calls and compliments from other coaches on the honor, but despite the kind words, and the season's accomplishments, Sanders was quick to take the attention off of himself, and on to his players.
"It's not my award," Sanders said. "It just reflects on the kids, and not only them, the coaching staff as well. I mean I am surrounded by great coaches, great players and if it was not for them, there's no way I get this."
Prior to being named COTY, Sanders' players told us his team-first attitude has helped guide them through the past several seasons. When Sanders first took over, the team fought through two losing seasons prior to the turnaround over the last two years.
"Coach is a serious coach, but he's always having fun with us as well," junior Ian Goodness said. "He's never 100% on us, he has that lighter side."
Goodness's older brother, Paul, eclipsed 1,000 career points during Thursday night's regular season finale, a loss at Lyons. The 1K milestone is something Sanders reached, too.
Sanders, a Manchester-Shortsville grad, played four years of varsity high school ball at Red Jacket followed by two years of college hoops at Finger Lakes Community College. Even after hanging up the shoes, Sanders stuck with the game. During his time in college he took up an assistant coaching job under his brother at Midlakes followed by a few years of coaching the JV team at Red Jacket.
Then came Pal-Mac.
Sanders already had his teaching job in the district, but he says it took a call from long-time former Bloomfield Athletic Director and current Pal-Mac Assistant Coach Pat Nolan to get the wheels in motion.
"We kinda got talking, and the rest was history I guess," Sanders said.
When he's not teaching or coaching, Sanders is a father of two children. He says it can be tough leaving home to head to the gym, but he gets motivation from seeing his team work hard, and work together.
"They're getting behind each other, it doesn't matter if they have a bad game and maybe they're on the bench a little bit longer," Sanders said. "So if that's the case, like I put a started on the bench because a bench player is playing a little bit better that game, that starter is getting behind his team on the bench, he's standing up the entire time, he's cheering his teammate on."
Sanders also touched on the community support. He says Pal-Mac has embraced the team, which is nothing new.
"The community is amazing," Sanders said. "I have definitely enjoyed my time here, they are super supportive, they're definitely behind the athletes, they want to see them succeed."
True to the team-first mindset, when asked about the next steps in the season, Sanders was quick to praise the players for making it "easy" to adjust from the regular season to the postseason.
"They have a goal in mind, and they're going to work their tails off to reach it," Sanders said.
Sanders and the boys will host Rochester Prep in the first round on Wednesday at 6pm . The girls basketball team will host Aquinas in the quarterfinal round next Friday at 7pm.
Tickets for each game are $5.