PLATTSBURGH — Experience means everything when it comes to coaching.
Clinton Community College hired someone with nearly 30 years of coaching experience to lead its men’s basketball program.
Clinton Athletic Director Kevin Daugherty has announced that Matt Luneau will be the Cougars’ next head coach.
“When Matt was on my staff, we worked well together,” Daugherty said.
“He’s a basketball lifer. He is highly motivated and has been very successful wherever he has been.”
Luneau, most notably, spent nine years on the Syracuse women’s basketball coaching staff, serving as an associate head coach for Keith Cieplicki and continuing to fill the same role when Quentin Hillsman took over head-coaching duties at the beginning of the 2006-2007 campaign.
Wherever he has coached, Luneau has always prioritized winning and plans to do the same with the Cougars.
“I really want to establish a respect in winning here at Clinton,” Luneau said. “I have done this basketball thing for a long time, and when you go get a coaching job and fail, that’s the end of your coaching career.
“This basketball thing just means too much to me to go take a coaching job and lose. Losing is just not an option for me. I have to keep the basketball thing going.”
Luneau graduated from Johnson State College in 1991 and served as an assistant for his alma mater’s men’s basketball team for the next three years in addition to being the head coach for Richford High School’s boys basketball team from 1992 to 1994.
As his coaching career continued, Luneau went on to be an assistant women’s coach at The College of St. Rose (1994-1997), Siena College (1997-2002) and Vermont (2002-2003) before joining the Syracuse staff.
“His resume is incredible,” Daugherty said. “Nothing is going to faze him. He has run into a lot of different situations in a lot of different places. He’s got great experience, which includes being the No. 1 recruiter at Syracuse.
“You are talking about a guy that would just jump on a plane and go to Los Angeles to recruit a kid. Matt is a guy that is going to get good talent, and he is going to know what to do with that talent when he gets it.”
Luneau left Syracuse in 2012, acknowledging that he wanted to relocate back to Vermont.
Luneau coached Enosburg’s boys basketball team to the Vermont state championship in 2017 before returning to the college level and spending the one season with Clinton that left a lasting impression on the Cougars’ new coach.
“When I was on Kevin’s staff, I just really appreciated the positivity of the culture at Clinton and the family atmosphere,” Luneau said. “The relationships were good on that team that season, and because of that, the memories are good.
“That one year made me want to come back here when I heard the job was available.”
Clinton finished last season at 6-20.
With a fair amount of players returning for next season, Luneau believes he has a great foundation to build from for the 2019-2020 campaign.
“What Kevin has returning for next year is a solid enough base to build on, and that’s what I feel good about,” Luneau said. “I know there is a foundation we have coming back that we can work with and potentially win with.
“I want to do everything I can to get the best talent possible to Clinton. I want to get the best local players from this region and also focus on trying to bring in talent from places like the New York City area.
“I have already been contacting every connection I know and trying to turn over a rock that might lead to something. It’s about getting the best players that you can, and I want to bring the best possible talent to Clinton.”