TCC’s Settembre, Mandelbaum named to top-50 list

Special to the Outlook

Tallahassee Community College head men’s basketball coach Zach Settembre and assistant coach Ben Mandelbaum have been named two of the 50 most impactful coaches in men’s JUCO basketball by Silver Waves Media. 

The list highlights coaches, in no particular order, who have made and continue to make an outstanding impact on their players, programs and the game itself. 

Both Settembre and Mandelbaum recently completed their second season as members of the Eagles’ coaching staff. 

Jake Stanbrough, editor of Silver Waves Media, compiled the list.

“It hasn’t taken long for Settembre to show that he’s capable of running a program,” Stanbrough said of Settembre, a Louisville native. “The success he has brought to Tallahassee has been quicker than expected as well and it likely won’t stop anytime soon.”

Zach Settembre (left) and Ben Mandelbaum were named as two of the 50 most impactful coaches in JUCO men’s basketball.
Photo courtesy TCC athletics

Settembre came to Tallahassee in 2018 as the top assistant to then-head coach Mark White. After White stepped down in January 2019, Settembre served as interim head coach for the final nine games before eventually being named head coach last April. 

In his first full season, Settembre guided Tallahassee to its first Panhandle Conference Championship since 2006 and a 27-6 record, the most wins in school history for a rookie head coach. Despite a loss in the FCSAA State Championship Game, the Eagles earned an at-large berth to the NJCAA Tournament – their first appearance since 2011 – and received the No. 12 seed, although the event was eventually cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

“This is truly a tremendous honor being amongst so many great names who are having a powerful impact at the junior college level across the country,” said Settembre. “Junior college coaching is about so much more than basketball. Both as a head coach and assistant coach, we are blessed to have the opportunity to wear different hats all throughout our day to day interaction within our program.” 

Like Settembre, Mandelbaum joined the Eagles’ staff in 2018 as an assistant following stints at UAB and Minnesota, the latter as a student assistant for Richard Pitino. 

“Ben Mandelbaum is a tremendous assistant coach with an exceptionally bright future, mostly because of his commitment to the young men he coaches,” said Settembre. “He is an extraordinarily hard worker with an intelligent basketball mind and deserves to be recognized. Any successful program is a sum of all its parts, with each part being as important as the next. Every facet of the program must be in sync and equally committed to success every day. 

“I am extremely proud of our accomplishments at Tallahassee in my tenure as an Eagle and look forward to the bright future we work hard to build every day.” 

When Settembre moved into the head coach’s seat, Mandelbaum seamlessly assumed the role of lead assistant and continued in that capacity for the 2019-20 campaign. 

 “Mandelbaum has spent two years at Tallahassee and has helped with two successful ones,” Stanbrough said. “Expect Tallahassee to be a prominent program in years to come with the success that Mandelbaum has helped generate.”

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