Bill Scarlata, who grew up in Dedham, Mass., as a diehard Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins fan, always thought that someday he would become a baseball coach.
Instead, former Norwich Free Academy girls' basketball coach Paul Giardi asked Bill, then a math teacher at the school, to become his junior varsity coach. Bill took over the head coaching reins in 1993 and since then he has become the architect of one of the most decorated high school girls' basketball programs in Connecticut.
Bill completed the 2015-16 season, his 24th, with a record of 533-84 with seven Class LL state championships in nine appearances in the finals, with the Wildcats winning titles in 1996-97, 1999, 2001-02 and 2009-10. NFA finished 27-0 four times under Bill in 1996-97, 1999 and 2001. The Wildcats also won 17 Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament titles in his 24 seasons, including six in a row from 1999-2004.
Bill, known to be somewhat understated in taking credit for his many successes – “ he's going to give the kids all the credit and not show off coaching,” Giardi once said of his friend – was inducted to the Norwich Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
Among his career highlights, Bill lists his team's trip to compete in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic in Springfield, Mass., and state championships in 1996 against Southington (his first) and 2009 against Career (the first year the finals were held at Mohegan Sun Arena).
He earned his 400th career victory on Jan. 15, 2010 against East Lyme and picked up his 500th win on Feb. 3, 2015 over Ledyard.
Bill calls Giardi the biggest influence on his career and said the reason basketball became special to him is because it's the “ultimate team sport.”
Bill is a 1970 graduate of Dedham High School and received both his undergraduate and Master's degrees from UConn. He retired from teaching at NFA in 2010. An avid golfer, Scarlata and his wife Kristin reside in Canterbury. The couple has two daughters, Meredith and Lauren.