Fontbonne coach says farewell after 14 years

The 2022 basketball season turned out better than expected for Fontbonne varsity coach Steve Oliver.

After an up-and-down regular season, his Bonnies caught a second wind and finished strong in the CHSAA semi-finals by beating St. Edmund Prep. From there the Bonnies advanced to the Tier 2 Division Brooklyn-Queens Championship Game against the heavily favored Holy Cross Knights of Flushing. After a 62-45 Holy Cross championship victory, Oliver and several players received post-season CHSAA awards at Christ the King H.S. in Maspeth.  

Four-year varsity senior guard Anniya Telford, who averaged 20 points a game, was named as the first member of the All League Brooklyn-Queens Team. As the main cog in the Fontbonne offense, Telford ran the point and was the team’s leading scorer with 315 points.

Rookie guard Noelle Polanco was the second player named to the All League team. The “Freshman Flash” was the team’s second-leading scorer with 305 points, which was a season first for a Fontbonne freshman varsity player.

Senior guard Eleni Sipp, who scored 84 points during the regular season, won the Sportsman of the Year Award to round out recognition of Fontbonne’s top three varsity players. 

Coach Oliver was named the 2022 Brooklyn-Queens Coach of the Year. After 14 seasons at the helm, Oliver is stepping down to devote more time to his family and his two Bay Ridge restaurants, Chadwick’s and Pipin’s. Since starting out coaching his daughters Jill and Kate at Fontbonne in 2008, Oliver has amassed 225 wins, five B-Q final championship appearances, two B-Q championships and one diocesan city championship. 

“I’ve always said that all I only wanted was to watch my daughters’ games from the 10th row with a cup of coffee in my hand,” Oliver said. “But a temporary job during the middle of a season turned into something else.”

Oliver said it’s gratifying to see many of his former players succeed in life after they leave Fontbonne.

“It’s not all about basketball and wins and losses,” he said. “It’s about being an important part of their life during a very hard season. Seeing that pay off years later means the world to me.”

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