The Atlantic County Institute of Technology went looking for a media teacher.

The Mays Landing school also needed a basketball coach.

The Red Hawks found both in the same person.

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Tom Piotrowski, 52, is the new boys basketball coach, the school announced this week. ACIT finished 2-24 in its first varsity season last winter. The 7-foot-1 Piotrowski is well-known in the local basketball community, having coached the Absegami girls and the Atlantic Christian boys.

Piotrowski will teach television/film at the school.

“It was serendipity,” ACIT athletic director Robert Wagner said of Piotrowski’s hiring.

Piotrowski said television/film and basketball are two of his main passions.

“When you marry the two together, the job is very intriguing and one I’m excited about,” the Port Republic resident said.

Piotrowski coached the Absegami girls in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He coached the Atlantic Christian boys in the 2000s. His program at Atlantic Christian produced several Division I players, including Deshon Minnis (Rhode Island) and Piotrowski’s sons Matt (Eastern Illinois) and Luke (Richmond).

Tom Piotrowski played for La Salle University from 1978-1983, He played 18 games for the Portland Trail Blazers during the 1983-84 NBA season.

Piotrowski stepped down as the Atlantic Christian coach in 2012 in part to watch his sons play college basketball.

“I thought I was kind of retired from basketball,” Piotrowski said. “But I was getting a little itchy sitting around.”

Wagner said Piotrowski is perfect for ACIT because he has experience building both basketball and television/film programs. Piotrowski started a media program when he taught at Absegami.

“It was an easy decision to make,” Wagner said.

ACIT is a program with potential. The school can draw students from all over Atlantic County.

“The facilities are amazing,” Piotrowski said. “The support of the administration is amazing. I think we can build something.”

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I've covered high school sports and variety of other events and teams - including the ShopRite LPGA Classic and the Phillies - since 1993.

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