Javier Bevacqua walked around Flagler Palm Coast High School’s 800 gym instructing his players in practice drills.
Bevacqua stepped down as FPC’s varsity girls basketball coach in 2021 after winning 239 games in 13 seasons. Two years later, he’s back in familiar surroundings doing what he loves.
Bevacqua started an AAU program, Coach Bevacqua Basketball, in February and he now has four teams.
“My love for the sport brought me back to the grassroots,” he said during an April 27 practice.
His daughter, Giada, who is in seventh grade at Indian Trails Middle School, also had a hand in his return. She kept telling him that she wanted to play basketball.
“Finally, my wife said, ‘When are you going to get the hint?’ Bevacqua said. “So I said, ‘I guess I’m going to start a travel team.’ I looked around and I felt I could be the best teacher for her.”
What started with one 13-and-under girls team has in two months turned into four teams — 14U girls, 13U girls, 14U boys and high school girls. There are 10 players on each team.
My love for the sport brought me back to the grassroots.” — JAVIER BEVACQUA
FPC girls basketball head coach Anthony Wagner coaches the 14U girls team; FPC assistant coach Thomas Dailey coaches the high school team; Bevacqua coaches the 13U team and he shares coaching duties for the boys team with his nephew, former FPC basketball player, Michael Bevacqua.
Javier Bevacqua said he distributed flyers and kids showed up.
“A lot of parents trusted what I did in high school,” he said.
Bevacqua compiled a record of 239-119 at FPC, led the Bulldogs to nine playoff appearances, four district championships, four regional championships and one final four appearance.
He stepped down after becoming an ESE support facilitator at the school, which demanded more of his time.
His Coach Bevacqua Basketball players come from all over the County.
“I’m doing this to develop kids in Flagler County, to have them ready for high school, whichever high school they go to,” he said.
Each team practices twice a week and travels to tournaments.
Paiden Hickman, who plays for her team at Indian Trails Middle School, is on CBB’s 13U team.
“I thought it would be cool to play on a travel team,” she said. “A lot of my friends are on the team, and I’ve made new friends. It’s fun to go to different places and stay at hotels.”
Giada grew up participating in her father’s basketball camps and watching his FPC teams play, so she knew what to expect when she signed up.
“He’s fierce,” she said. “He corrects us.”
The 13U team won its division at the Insider Exposure tournament at Mainland High School in March. It also advanced to the championship game at the Dynasty Hoops tournament in Orlando.
Bevacqua teaches fundamentals, starting each practice with two or three “dynamic warmups”, such as a ladder drill to improve footwork, with hopes that the players work on the same drills at home.
“It’s the only way to get fundamentally sound,” he said.
He teaches the same style he taught to his FPC teams and to his teams in Brooklyn, New York, for 10 years before that.
“We teach man-to-man principles (on defense). We play man-to-man in our games. We put pressure on the ball and try to get out in transition,” he said.
While the players enjoy the tournament trips, the competition will prepare them for the future, Bevacqua said.
“If they have aspirations to play high school or college ball, they need to see what high-level basketball is like,” he said.
For more information on Coach Bevacqua Basketball, email [email protected].