Harrison Voorhees ’26
Mr. Daniel Feeney has recently begun his second year as Chaminade High School’s Varsity Basketball Head Coach. A member of the physical education department, he also serves as the school’s new assistant athletic director.
Unlike many of the coaches and teachers here, Feeney did not go to Chaminade but rather played against the Flyers while attending Holy Trinity High School. Although he played baseball, soccer, and basketball growing up, he realized that his true passion was basketball after breaking his hand on the varsity soccer team. He was so upset to have to skip the first two weeks of the basketball season that he quickly gave up soccer for his love of basketball. He went on to play during his four years of high school and, later, at York College of Pennsylvania.
It makes perfect sense, then, that his career would involve the game he truly loved as a teenager. Feeney started coaching at Chaminade 15 years ago, working his way up to head varsity coach last year.
When asked about how the varsity basketball team looks this year, Coach Feeney replied, “We have eleven guys who are returning from varsity and we have a few guys coming from the JV team who won the championship last year.” He believes they have a lot of steps ahead of them to get to where they need to be, but he has a lot of confidence in the players.
Feeney is most impressed that the Flyers are willing to sacrifice their own minutes, accolades, and even points for the betterment of the team; in other words, they are willing to be selfless and work as a family. “They will run through a wall for you,” Feeney added. “Tell them how hard to hit the wall and these guys will do it for you.” This is precisely what Feeney looks for when he is coaching: mental and physical toughness. He wants the athlete that will be willing to take charges and dive on the floor for a loose ball, all to help the team.
When asked what he loves about Chaminade, Feeney replied that he truly values the brotherhood and camaraderie of this school—his Chaminade family. Feeney affirms, “Bro. Tom Cleary, S.M. ’81 and Bro. Joe Bellizzi, S.M. ’78 are my two direct bosses here…and I could go to them with anything at any time: 4 a.m. or 9 p.m., text or email, and they get back to me in a matter of moments…knowing you have that support is everything.”
Feeney has been working in the physical education department for several years, and he and his colleagues joke around that “no one works for me; we work together.”
The greatest accomplishment Feeney has experienced as head coach happened last year. “We had a close game against Christ the King High School and we ended up losing by four,” Feeney stated. “But personally, my greatest accomplishment was what happened after that loss. On paper, Christ the King was a more talented team and they had some high-level players, so everyone was saying ‘great job’ and ‘you guys almost beat them.’ But the 15 kids in the locker room walked out and didn’t see it that way. As a coach, you like that because—along with the coaches who have come before me—we have created a culture where we are not looking to compete; we are looking to win. We schedule as hard as we can, and play as well as we can, with anybody. That’s been our M.O. We will play with anyone and we expect to win. We know some teams are more talented than us, but we still try to find a way to win.”
This year’s goal is to win the New York State Championship. “Last year we lost in overtime by one to my alma mater,” Feeney recalled. “We were losing the entire game and fought to come back. It was a tough way to end. My first year as a head coach, and that was exactly how you would not want to lose your last game,” he laughed.
Feeney plans on making a few changes to how the team plays this year. He also plans on playing more guys off the bench. Overall, Feeney is looking forward to a successful and exciting season.
Finally, Feeney answered the most important question: Michael Jordan or LeBron James? Without hesitation and with a smile on his face, he responded that his favorite memory was attending the Knicks vs. Bulls games at Madison Square Garden. Feeney and his father watched the great MJ in person during the late 90s—hands down, Michael Jordan.