NP Legend: Coach Cattano


Michael Henry, staff writer

In 1979 when Arthur Cattano was hired as a teacher and basketball coach by the New Providence School District, “[he] was told that [his job] might be for one year because they were closing schools at the time.”

He managed to hang on through the closings and started developing his basketball program.

Throughout his 42 years in New Providence, Cattano has witnessed tremendous change and growth in all aspects of the community. One of the most notable facets that has evolved over the years is technology.

Cattano stated, “there’s a lot more technology involved, whether you’re a teacher or a coach that has helped in many positive ways.”

On the court, these adjustments have ranged from online scheduling to analysis of games through online apps. While time and technology have changed many elements concerning basketball, nothing compares to the vast changes they presented within the school. The new technology helped make learning easier, established a variety of new courses, and has simplified the entire education process.

While new technology has had positive results, Cattano said, “concentration levels aren’t what they normally have been in the past.”

He attributes this change mainly to the constant access of technology through phones and the school-administered iPads. Technology, however, has not been the only development throughout the past four decades. One of the most significant differences is the number of students found within the district. Cattano remembers “as a student there were four K-8 public schools in the district” and “there were close to 1200 students in the high school, about 300 student in [his] graduating class.” In 2021, there are only two elementary schools, and the high school has roughly half the amount of students.

Despite the change that four decades brings, Coach Cattano has endured, in part because his teams and organization have all been built on a solid foundation consisting of respect and effort.

He stressed that “It doesn’t matter what the records are, it doesn’t matter how talented teams are. One day anybody can [beat] anybody.”

He cited multiple games throughout his coaching career, including a win against Roselle Catholic that proved that effort and a proper mindset could win any game.

As Cattano continued his coaching career, he noted that he “had very few issues [with players] just because people [became] real familiar with what our program is about.”

Cattano’s reputation preceded him, and players knew the standards well before stepping onto the court. Cattano felt this respect helped build “a strong bond with quite a few of the students over the course of 42 years.”

He remembers coaching the children of some of his oldest players and “feels as more time has gone on, he realizes how important relationships are.”

While so much has changed over the past 42 years, Cattano’s basketball program and the ideals they follow have stood the test of time.