Tommy Tonelli to coach Wharton basketball again

That ruckus you hear in New Tampa is a collective hurrah from the Wharton High fan base.

Tommy Tonelli, who guided the Wildcats boys basketball team to a decade of astounding success before taking a position on the USF staff, is returning to his old gig.

Bulls coach Stan Heath announced in a Monday afternoon news release that Tonelli, his director of basketball operations the past two years, was headed back to Wharton. Tonelli, 213-73 in 10 seasons as Wildcats coach, couldn't immediately be reached.

"I wish him nothing but the best," Heath said in the release. "His contributions have been significant and he will be missed, even though he won't be too far away."

Before leaving to work for his alma mater, Tonelli, a former USF point guard, guided the Wildcats to three district titles, three region semifinals appearances and one region finals berth. He was named the Times' coach of the year three times.

"I really appreciate the opportunity Stan gave me to be back at USF. I enjoyed it and it was a learning experience," Tonelli said in the USF release.

"The opportunity came about for me to go back to Wharton and I just felt like it was an opportunity for me, the sake of my family and professionally, that I couldn't pass up."

Tommy Tonelli to coach Wharton basketball again 08/10/09 [Last modified: Monday, August 10, 2009 11:56pm]

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