Veteran Basketball Coach Likes His Ribeye, Oldies Bands

July always means baseball, but it’s also given Chico Furtado some of his prouder moments as a basketball coach.

A lifelong Kaneohe resident, Furtado has taken his Hawaii-Select traveling All-Star teams to Las Vegas for more than a decade, often with rewarding results. His teams won national tournaments in 2004 and 2005 in addition to being in the mix for titles in the years that followed.

As he readies his 2013 team for the Big Foot Hoops Las Vegas Classic later this month, he took time away from the practice court to visit with MidWeek‘s Wind-ward Islander.

What’s your earliest sports-related memory? When I was in fifth grade and playing organized basketball for the first time. Back then, Pop Warner actually had a basketball program for a while, but there weren’t different age groups, so I played with my brother’s (Kahaluu-based) team and was four years younger than the rest of them. I was a skinny kid then and didn’t play as much as the others, but it set the tone as far as my always wanting to play up (age-wise). For instance, when I have an eighth-grader who’s good enough to play at the varsity level as a freshman, I move them up instead of keeping them on the JV team.

Who has had the biggest impact on your coaching? Three people. Early in my playing days, I was coached by my dad for several years. My style – wanting to press and run – goes back to playing for him. Fast-forward to my days at Chaminade, where I played for Merv Lopes. His dedication, attention to detail and expectation that kids stretch themselves and play at the highest level had a lot to do with why I feel that way. Most recently, I was influenced by Pete Smith. Coaching with him gave me an understanding of the game from a coach’s eye.

When did you know you wanted to be a coach? I had coached youth sports – Little League and Pop Warner football in the ’80s – but I didn’t really get into coaching at the level I coached at Kalaheo until I met Pete and spent that year (1989-90) coaching with him at Chaminade. I began to understand what it was all about. I spent more time on X’s and O’s, and I started going to clinics.

What’s the most challenging aspect of coaching? Running a complete program. It’s not only about X’s and O’s, but building relationships with players, parents and administrators. How do you set up your program so that you can be successful on the floor? The other thing is getting a commitment from the kids. You can’t excel at anything without passion.

When you have free time, how do you spend it? Mostly with my wife (Lynn). I also have two dogs, and I enjoy working with my grandson (Noah). I used to golf, but I don’t do much of that anymore. I like to go camping.

What film could you watch over and over? City Slickers with Billy Crystal, and laugh over and over again. And I never get tired of The Godfather.

What’s one thing you couldn’t live without? TV. I watch tons of sports. If I had to go back to just listening to it (on radio), it would be brutal.

You’re stuck on an island and can have just one food. What would it be? No doubt about it, a rib-eye steak, prepared medium-rare. Bingo!

Who are five musical artists that you would list among your favorites? I’m an oldies guy – my musical clock stopped when disco came in. I like the Temptations, Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Three Dog Night, among others.

What is your favorite place to visit on Oahu? When we go camping, we always go to Kualoa. That’s as good a place as any.