WILDWOOD — For the past four months, Dave Troiano has lost track of how many times he’s been asked the same question.
Does he miss it?
“Sure, I miss it,” he said.
Troiano stepped away from coaching the Wildwood High School girls basketball team in October, putting the cap on an illustrious 39-year career.
On Tuesday, the school honored him and late former boys basketball coach Bernie McCracken by renaming the floor after the two legendary coaches.
“I don’t know where the 39 years went,” the 70-year-old said. “It seemed liked a heck of a long time, but these 39 years have been a joy.”
Troiano has been to every Wildwood game this season. He’s still the president of the booster club at the high school.
“He’s been an icon in the community here and his history stands by itself,” said Wildwood athletic director Michael Hickman.
Wildwood has a decal in two opposite corners of the floor naming it the “Bernie McCracken & Dave Troiano Court.” Hickman said the goal in the next couple years is to redo the gym and have the name permanently ingrained into the floor.
Troiano finished his career with a 682-326 record in 39 seasons and led the Warriors to nine South Jersey titles and four state championships. The Warriors won the South Jersey Group I title in his final season last year.
He misses all of those accolades and games. But there is one thing he doesn’t miss.
“I don’t miss the yellow school bus rides,” he joked. “But this year, the first day of practice the day after Thanksgiving, you know...” as he trailed off.
But he admitted it was time to pass the torch, and he feels Wildwood picked the perfect person.
Taking over for the Warriors this season is Teresa Cunniff, who played for Troiano and graduated from Wildwood in 1991. She is one of his several 1,000-point scorers and she was an assistant coach the last 21 years.
On Tuesday, the Warriors (15-7) beat Pennsville 52-26
“It’s amazing. There are no words that can describe it,” Cunniff said. “He deserves it. He gave his heart and soul to the school, and as a player and coach of his, he’s my role model. He really is. It couldn’t happen to a better person.”
Troiano was presented with a plaque for his career and took a few minutes to speak to the crowd. In turn, he had flowers presented to his wife, Carol, and thanked his two children, Tony and Tracey, and grandchildren, Lindsey and Jamie.
“The wives of coaches sometimes have to have your dinner ready at 10 or 10:30 at night and things like that,” Troiano said. “I wanted to make sure she knew how much I appreciated her.”
Troiano then called the 40 or so former players in attendance there to center court for another Wildwood cheer. He couldn’t help but to continue sharing the moment with the people that made it all possible.
“That epitomizes him, it really does,” Cunniff said. “He never thinks about himself. It was always about everybody else in his eyes.”