When he was playing for Towson Catholic, the farthest thing from Josh Czerski’s mind was becoming a coach.
“You’re just focusing on playing, you know,” said Czerski, a four-year letterwinner who graduated from the now-defunct school in 2007. “You’re trying to compete at the highest level in that league.”
A former player in the MIAA A Conference/Baltimore Catholic League, Czerski will get to compete from the sidelines. Monday, Czerski was named the new basketball coach at Loyola Blakefield.
“The league (BCL) has been steeped in history for as long as I can remember,” said Czerski. “Now to be a head coach in the league, it’s come full circle and I’m really excited for the opportunity.”
Czerski succeeds Josh Davalli, who stepped down two weeks ago after 18 seasons. Czerski arrives at the Towson private school after a successful stint at Parkville that was capped March 11 with the Class 4A state championship.
Loyola athletic director Blake Henry said Czerski was the choice out of more than 50 applicants.
“He’s a program builder. He ran a successful program at Parkville, really integrating a lot of his philosophy into the jayvee team as well so he was prepping guys before they made it to his team,” said Henry. “You saw the progression over the six years, not only the wins and losses but the type of teams he fielded, the quality of his staff and kids went on to play at the next level.”
Czerski posted a 116-33 in six seasons at Parkville, winning three region titles and a Baltimore County championship. The Knights, who finished No. 5 in the final Baltimore Banner/VSN Top 15, went 27-1 this past season.
Parkville won its first state crown, defeating Meade, 72-56, in the 4A title game at the University of Maryland.
“I’m really sad to go. Parkville as a whole was amazing. The administration was amazing. The athletic director was very supportive,” said Czerski, who was VSN’s Boys Basketball Coach of the Year in 2021-22. “Just the whole community…We had some amazing young men who really developed that culture that turned into family and that turned into winning for us.”
Czerski coached in the MIAA A/BCL in 2015-16 at John Carroll where he was an assistant under Tony Martin. The Patriots, led by-then sophomore Immanuel Quickley (New York Knicks), won the Baltimore Catholic League Tournament title.
He was an assistant at Penn State-York from 2012 to 2015 after playing from 2007 to 2012 for the Pennsylvania Division 3 program. Czerski said his former college coach, Parrish Petry, is his greatest coaching influence.
Czerski played for Mike Daniel, a member of the BCL Hall of Fame, and Josh Pratt at Towson Catholic. The Owls won the MIAA A and BCL Tournament crowns in Czerski’s senior year in 2007.
Pratt, now Archbishop Spalding’s coach, regularly talks to Czerski. He’s proud to see his former player’s transformation.
“We had some very good teams, but all the players respected his (Czerski) basketball IQ and it’s carried over to his coaching,” said Pratt, whose 2006-07 Owl squad, led by All-Met Player of the Year Malcolm Delaney (Virginia Tech/Atlanta Hawks) and Donte Greene (Syracuse/Sacramento Kings), finished 32-6 and No. 1 in the area. “We often bounce ideas off each other.”
Loyola went 11-15 this past season and finished No. 10 in the final Banner/VSN Top 15 poll. The Dons are slated to return nine letterwinners next season.
Five underclassmen started for Dons in their final match of the season - a 56-51 loss to St. Maria Goretti in the BCL Tournament quarterfinals.
Czerski said he’s meeting with the players Wednesday.
“I’ve watched him grow and he’s learned to be patient,” said Pratt. “He’s stoic but firm.”
Czerski joins Davalli (Cardinal Gibbons alum), Gary Neal (Calvert Hall), Andy Bauer (Mount St. Joseph alum/Spalding), John Bauersfeld (Calvert Hall), Mark Karcher (St. Frances) and the late Bob Flynn (Gibbons) as former BCL players to be a head coach in the league.
“It’s going to be exciting to be on the floor for that first home game,” said Czerski, who played against Loyola when Jerry Savage was nearing the end of his legendary coaching career at Blakefield. “I’m privileged to have this opportunity.”