IRVINGTON, NJ – Noel Segarra has a passion for coaching, whether it’s soccer, football or basketball.
For the past eight years, Segarra has been a boys’ basketball coach at Union Avenue Middle School in Irvington.
Segarra is now looking forward to his new position as the Irvington High School head girls’ varsity basketball coach.
“I am ecstatic to be taking over the girls’ basketball program here in Irvington,” said Segarra in an email to The Irvington Herald/EssexNewsDaily.com. “Being offered this position has been one of the highlights of my coaching career. I have dedicated the past eight years to coaching basketball here in Irvington as an assistant boys’ basketball coach and the head basketball coach at Union Avenue Middle School. Taking over this program means the world to me, and having the opportunity to help make this program thrive again and be one of the most successful in the area would be incredible.”
This past winter, Segarra guided the Union Avenue Middle School boys’ team to a successful 11-3 season, with only one loss in conference play.
Segarra also previously coached girls’ soccer and was the defensive backs and wide receiver coach for the IHS football team.
The IHS girls’ basketball team has several key returning players, looking to improve on a 7-16 record. Among those returning players are senior Tiara Mahorn, who made First Team on the All-Suepr Essex Conference-Independence Division; junior Aniyah Massey, who was Second Team All-SEC-Indepdence, and senior Herbina Exume, who made Honorable Mention.
Over the years, Segarra has seen talented student-athletes leave the disrict. Indeed, he wants to stop that trend.
“Some goals would have to include keeping some of the great, athletic talent here in Irvington,” said Segarra, who teaches English Language Arts in the Irvington school district. “I have watched so many of my former athletes transfer out of district, depriving Irvington of some of the best talent I have ever seen. I am ready to work with the girls on the team to build team/individual confidence and determination to be successful, not only on the court, but in the classroom as well. I expect each and every one of the girls who are a part of this program to put in the hard work, dedication and determination to be great.
“I plan on increasing basketball intensity, improving the team’s defense and improving the team’s success, not solely individual successes,” Segarra continued. “I expect to double the amount of wins this upcoming season. Last year’s team was 7-16 overall and 5-9 in the conference. I’m definitely looking to improve on those numbers. Long-term goals would have to be to watch this program develop and continue winning. I want to help as many girls get into college as possible and further not only their basketball careers, but their education as well, helping them earn scholarships to attend college. Keeping the talent in Irvington is definitely top of the list for long-term goals. With a winning reputation and the talent staying home, I am positive this program will be successful. I truly believe that with the dedication of the players as well as by myself and my assistant coaches, if we strive to be great, we will be great.”
This summer, the team will be conditioning, working out in the weight room and attending a summer “Open Gym,” Segarra said.
“Working out during the summer and off-season will be critical this year. I will have the girls in the gym beginning July and plan on improving many individual and team skills. Defensively, we need to improve and stop the other teams from scoring. Developing these good habits during the off-season will have a positive effect on the regular season. Hard work will pay off and the team will grow as a whole.
“With the team’s success, will come individual successes,” Segarra continued. “I plan on really focusing on team-building and communication, on and off the court. We will be working out at least three-to-four days a week during the summer in order to get better overall as a team. Personally, I will be working with some of the incoming freshmen as well as a few of the leaders from last year’s team, who each had individual successes last season. Defense will be something we will really focus on this summer and off-season.”
Segarra has made a strong impression on IHS Athletic Director Dr. John Taylor.
“He’s a terrific coach,” said Taylor. “The players respond to him. He has a great relationship with his players in that they want to play for him.”
A high school, multi-sport athlete, Segarra earned a football scholarship to many Division I and II schools, and accepted a scholarship to play football at Villanova. Later on, he transferred to Kutztown University of Pennsylvania to play football. At Kutztown, Segarra played cornerback, slot receiver and special teams. He graduated in 2003 with a degree in Criminal Justice.
Following his graduation Segarra played semi-pro and later Arena Football.
In 2009, he was invited to the NFL Combine, but ended his playing career after an ACL injury. Coaching then became his aspiration.
Segarra has tabbed Mike Brown as his assistant coach. Brown, a co-worker and longtime friend, helped coach Lincoln High School of Jersey City to a state boys’ basketball championship during the 2007-2008 season.