• Dan Russoman

Velardi named as Hammonton High School girls basketball coach

HAMMONTON—Hammonton High School’s girls basketball team will have a new head coach this season, as Michael Velardi takes over at his alma mater.


Velardi was one of five head coaches approved by the Hammonton School Board last week, and the 1999 grad is eager to begin working with his new team.


“I’m very excited to take over the program. I have coached football and currently baseball (as an assistant) at HHS and I am well-versed with many of these student athletes coming up through middle school,” Velardi said.


Velardi served as an assistant coach for the Middle School boys and girls basketball teams, and was an assistant with Hammonton’s boys varsity team early in his coaching career.


He replaces Justin LoSasso, who guided the Blue Devils to a 33-18 mark in two seasons behind the bench.


Velardi becomes Hammonton’s fourth coach since the start of the 2014-15 season.


“I want to add some stability to a program that has seen a lot of changeover with head coaches,” Velardi said.


Hammonton finished 17-9 last year and lost in the opening round of the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs. The Blue Devils lost several key players to graduation.


Rebuilding the program will be more difficult this season due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


“[It] 2020 has been a difficult year with many pushbacks and start date changes, but as long as we have a season, it’s a win for us,” Velardi said.


“We will hopefully get things going once we come back in mid-January and get rolling. We have a young core of girls and with back-to-back 17-win seasons, I’m looking forward to developing and continuing that winning attitude and culture,” he said.


“Being the head coach of this program brings me great pride. I am very grateful for this opportunity and look forward to coaching this team for years to come,” Velardi said.