Mohawk Mountaineers name Jamie Girolametto men’s basketball coach

Published April 5, 2023 at 12:50 pm

redeemer univeristy royals mohawk mountaineers Jamie Girolametto brian jonkers mens basketball
Mohawk College's men's basketball program named Jamie Girolametto its 10th head coach in its history, replacing the retiring Brian Jonkers. (Redeemer University Royals photo)

Mohawk College’s men’s basketball program announced on Wednesday that it has hired Jamie Girolametto as the 10th head coach in its history.

Girolametto replaces the retiring Brian Jonker, who called it a career after 17 seasons at the helm.

Girolametto, a lifelong Hamilton resident and well-known basketball coach at both the high school and OCAA levels, joins Mohawk after a decade as the head coach of the Redeemer Royals men’s basketball program.

“Mohawk has had a really good reputation academically within the city,” Girolametto said. “Athletically, there’s a lot of good things happening here, so (the coaching position) became something that I quickly became excited about.”

During his 10 seasons at Redeemer, Girolametto posted a 98-80 regular season record and led the program to five consecutive OCAA Championship tournament appearances (2016-20 and 2022).

The Royals’ best season under Girolametto came in 2017-18 when the program posted a 19-1 record and the Hamiltonian was named OCAA Coach of the Year.

Prior to his days at Redeemer, Girolametto was an assistant coach at McMaster University for the 2011-12 season under Canadian basketball legend Joe Raso. At the high school level, he coached for more than a decade at St. Mary’s Catholic Secondary and spent time coaching Blessed Sacrament and the Ancaster Magic at the club level.

Before turning to coaching, Girolametto built his own impressive athletic career, starting at St. Mary’s as a dual-sport star, capturing two Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board titles and two combined OFSAA Championships in basketball and soccer.

He would then go on to play at McMaster from 1993 to 1997, winning three OUA Championships and making four CIAU (now U Sports) appearances, winning two national silver medals.

“To have someone like Jamie come in to take over the men’s basketball program after the great job Brian did will ensure that the program doesn’t skip a beat. I’ve been clear that this isn’t a rebuild, and with Jamie at the helm, we expect to remain highly competitive,” said Director of Athletics and Recreation Matthew Ferreira. “Jamie has tremendous basketball IQ, and his ties to the Hamilton community will be a big asset.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind he will continue to carry our men’s basketball program forward with success.”

Having been coached by two great locals – Pat Papalia and Raso – during his high school and university playing days, Girolametto admitted his coaching philosophy is developed through his two former coaches.

“When people come to watch us play, my goal is for them to walk out the gym saying, ‘Man, that team played tough.’ Hamilton-tough is what we’ll strive for as a team,” Girolametto added.

But make no mistake; spectators will continue to see the fast-paced offensive style Mohawk played under Jonker.

“I like teams playing fast, so we’re not going to be a defensive team that’s grinding it out and trying to hold teams under 60,” Girolametto explained. “We’re going to play up-tempo, we’re going to play fast, but there’s going to be a lot of attention on the defensive end so we can try and shut teams down the best we can.”

Girolametto also announced his coaching staff for the 2023-24 season, which will include assistant coaches Adam Cholewka, Doyle Anthony, Mac Akrong, and Rommel Calura.

Cholewka recently joined Girolametto’s coaching staff at Redeemer and will make the move over to Mohawk with him. He has experience at the high school level, having coached at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary in nearby Burlington and Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary in Milton.

Anthony is a former CCAA All-Canadian, having played at Mount Allison University and St. Mary’s University. He was also an assistant with Girolametto at Redeemer during both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.

Akrong was an assistant on Jonker’s coaching staff for 13 seasons and will remain with the program moving forward.

Calura will be joining the staff as a first-year assistant after wrapping up his playing days with Mohawk this past season. He spent four seasons playing for the Mountaineers, appearing in 54 games and scoring 856 points. He is the current Mohawk record-holder for most threes made in a career, with 151.

Mountaineers men’s basketball is coming off a year that saw them capture an OCAA bronze medal.

INsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising