Matt Cioce '13 Gets His Shot at Stetson
Former team manager earns roster spot for Florida basketball program
The college basketball career of Matt Cioce '13 is a lesson in tenacity. Cioce bided his time for two years as a team manager at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla. All the while, he yearned for an on-court role with the Hatters. So, Cioce returned every summer to Christ School. Not only to work on his game, but make gains in the weight room with Duncan Parham, who is the Greenies' Assistant Athletic Director and Strength Coach. Cioce is now in his second and final season as a reserve guard for Stetson. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior was preparing for Saturday's big Atlantic Sun Conference game at Florida Gulf Coast just prior to this interview.
Question: Your college athletic experience has been very atypical. What was it like to finally get your chance to play?
Interview: I'd probably say it was a tough, frustrating experience for me at times. After playing at Christ School, playing at such a high level, I knew I could play at this level. I just had to keep working to get as good as I could get. I really have to thank Coach Parham for a lot. It's been an interesting journey. I've accomplished my dream and I get to help contribute for my team. It's a good feeling.
Question: How is the season going so far?
Answer: Right now, we're a .500 team (with an 8-8 overall record). We enter conference play on Saturday against Florida Gulf Coast, which is a big rival. Being a smaller Division I program, the conference tournament is the most important thing. We know we're not going to get an at-large bid (to the NCAA Tournament), so winning the conference tournament is a goal. We're just trying to get better, one game at a time.
Question: What type of degree are you going to graduate with?
Answer: I'm double majoring in Sports Business and Business Administration. My goal right now is to go right into coaching. I would like to coach at the Division I level, hopefully at some school in North Carolina.
Question: It looks like from your social media that you got to show some of your teammates around Asheville in September?
Answer: Yes. We had to evacuate for a hurricane. School was closed for a week and a half, so I came home. We went to the Biltmore Estate. I gave all of them a tour of Asheville.
Question: What did you learn from your time at Christ School?
Answer: How to be my own man. I know that's something that a lot of guys say, but it's true. I came in young and not super confident in myself. I was really able to grow and take a lot of things from Christ School into the next phase of my life. It definitely helps you develop a different discipline. I pretty much had a college schedule in high school, and learned how to manage my time. Some of the relationships I made with Mr. Krieger, Mr. Brown, and Coach Parham really helped get me ready for being on my own.