NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Sports

March 20, 2013

NBBA president MacRae to step down with league flourishing

(Continued)

In addition to the travel teams, there are 11 or 12 in-town teams in each of two age levels — fifth- and sixth-grade, and seventh- and eighth-grade.

Newburyport High boys basketball coach Tom L'Italien has become more involved at the youth level throughout MacRae's tenure as president, consistently leading clinics for players and coaches. L'Italien has taken his high school teams to the state tournament each of the last four years, seemingly reaping the benefits of a stronger feeder system. L'Italien coached MacRae's oldest son, Connor, for the last four years, and he will coach Cameron for the next four.

"I've had great youth directors whose sons have been on my team, and that can be tricky at times," L'Italien said. "It was never that way with Steve. He always kept the NBBA separate from Connor playing for me. He's coached a lot of the kids that have come through the high school program. He's always found a balance as a youth director, and the father of a player on my team."

MacRae was also instrumental in organizing registration and reserving court time each season. The developmental league practices and plays at the Hope Church in Newburyport. The travel and in-town teams play at the Nock Middle School and Newburyport High.

Jay Cahalane began serving as a coach and NBBA Board member five years ago. MacRae reached out to Cahalane, his neighbor, in anticipation of Cahalane's son, Charlie, joining the NBBA in future seasons. Now 10, Charlie finally joined the league this year.

"I've never seen anyone more committed to building the league and making sure the integrity is in place than Steve," Cahalane said. "The countless hours he's committed to the growth is unbelievable. One of his faults is he doesn't delegate. He takes it all on himself, and he does a phenomenal job."

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