When Ev Corwin says he’s climbed the ranks in Greenport, he’s not joking.
He started as the ball boy before becoming a player for Greenport, where he graduated in 1990. He eventually became the junior high coach and then the junior varsity coach.
And now, the varsity coach.
It’ll be Corwin who’s tasked with the job of replacing the huge shoes of iconic Al Edwards, Greenport’s coach for the previous 34 years. Edwards, one of two Greenport players whose jersey is retired, announced in May he is officially stepping down as the varsity coach.
Corwin was recently confirmed by the school board as the new coach.
“It’s bittersweet a little bit,” Corwin said after a 54-53 loss to Mattituck Thursday in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League at Rocky Point Middle School. “I’ve been around Al for so long. So it’ll take a little getting used to not having him around all the time.
“I don’t know how to put into words how excited I am,” he added. “I love Greenport, I love the community, the kids.”
Corwin learned the game playing and coaching under Edwards.
“I learned not to get too high when it’s going good, maybe not to get too low when it’s going bad,” Corwin said. “I’m a little high strung. Me and him were kind of like Yin and Yang.”
Corwin said he hopes to continue the legacy that Edwards established at Greenport.
“The main thing is the way he conducted himself,” Corwin said. “I’m going to try to do the best I can to continue that.”
Having been around the program so long, Corwin already is familiar with all the returning players.
The Porters, who are 4-5 in summer league, return an experienced core led by seniors Gavin Dibble, Austin Hooks and junior Timmy Stevens.
“I’m expecting a good year here,” Corwin said. “We’re changing, we’re going to be playing man-to-man this year a little more than before. That’s going to take a bit of getting used to, which is why summer league is so great. I like the guys we have coming back. That’s not just coach speak.”
Stevens is a player who could be primed for a big season. He hit four 3-pointers in the first half, showing off a deft touch from beyond the arc. He finished the game with five 3-pointers for 15 points.
“He’s like instant offense,” Corwin said. “Timmy can score in bunches.”
Dibble, the point guard, and Hooks, a forward, will be heavily relied on at both ends of the floor.
“They’re going to lead the team,” Corwin said.
Dibble had a strong game against Mattituck and nearly pulled off a heroic shot in the final second. With the Porters trailing by three, Dibble nearly banked in a 3-pointer with .4 seconds remaining. He was fouled on the shot, sending him to the line for three shots.
He hit the first two before Mattituck coach Paul Ellwood called a time-out. When Dibble returned to the line, the ball rattled out on the final free-throw to force overtime, giving the Tuckers (7-1) a come-from-behind victory.
“Paul does a great job with those guys,” Corwin said.”
If the summer league is any indication, the regular season games between the two schools should provide plenty of excitement. Considering it was summer league, Thursday’s game was surprisingly entertaining. Both team shot the ball well and hustled on both ends of the court.
“These guys play together on AAU teams and stuff now,” Corwin said. “It’s extra motivation.”
The Porters led nearly from start to finish against Mattituck until the Tuckers rolled off a late 7-0 run to take grab their first lead of the game at 52-51 with 1:37 left. Greenport had led by as many as 13 in the first half.
“There was a lot of intensity out there today,” Corwin said. “Good stuff. It was all good.”