Charlie Buscaglia makes long-awaited return to sidelines


Charlie Buscaglia looks up at the scoreboard during RMU’s first-round game against Purdue Fort Wayne. Photo credit: Justin Newton

Tyler Gallo

It has been a while since we’ve seen Charlie Buscaglia man the sidelines for Robert Morris, but Tuesday night marked the return for the Colonials’ coach after a 21-game leave of absence.

Buscaglia took an unexpected medical leave after the team’s Thanksgiving win over Canisius and was ‘bedridden’ for the past four months, having to go behind the scenes to coach the roster he built.

“It’s a blessing to be here today after a long time away and doing a lot from a distance,” Buscaglia said. “Being back with this team was unbelievable. My adrenaline was running, [the team’s] adrenaline was running, it was just a proud moment.”

Associate head coach Scott Schneider stepped in during his leave, coaching admirably for the team, guiding the roster to a 10-11 record, including a season sweep of no. 4-ranked Cleveland State.

Buscaglia knew Schneider was the right man to take over.

“[Scott’s] been with me since 2009, and if anybody’s a clone, it’s him,” he said. “He did a great job with the culture. That wasn’t an easy position he was put in. We communicated a lot [while I was gone]… I’m just so proud of him and proud of the staff. We wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for them.”

Sol Castro was at the forefront of the team’s roster during Buscaglia’s absence and remarked that it was easy for Buscaglia to transition back into the role because of Scott Schneider.

“Even though [Coach B] wasn’t here for most of the season, I think that we had the same culture throughout,” Castro said. “When he did come back, it was the same; we didn’t change anything. It was great to have him back again because he’s the head coach. It’s good news to know that he is feeling better.”

It’s no shock that the Colonials came out with a vintage Buscaglia-coached performance, toppling Purdue Fort Wayne 70-56 in the team’s first-round Horizon League matchup.

It was the first time Robert Morris hosted a Horizon League Tournament game, and they won in front of the home crowd.

“We are really proud. It’s a big win,” Castro said. “We worked hard to get this win. It wasn’t an easy game. It was nice to have the first game of the tournament here after all the things we have been through.”

Buscaglia also echoed the sentiment tied to this game.

“Every season’s going to have adversity, and with me having to step away and some of the injuries we’ve had, we have pushed forward,” Buscaglia said. “It’s all counted as joy in this program. It’s not easy for some people to grasp that… it’s going to make you better, it’s going to make you step up, and it’s going to make you better when things get tough, and that’s what I’m proud about.”

The game was a perfect one for him to come back to, as it also marked Buscaglia’s 100th win as head coach, and he noted that it was something that didn’t cross his mind.

“[The team] didn’t tell me that until after the game, and I guess they’re the type of people to not tell you,” Buscaglia said. “Those [milestones] tend to happen when you aren’t thinking about them.”

As Robert Morris moves into their second-round matchup against top-seeded IUPUI, it is nice to see Buscaglia’s familiar face on the sidelines once again.