Hudson Valley Sports Report


Will Join Forces With Another Familiar Name, Tom Bell

By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

The Millbrook High School boys basketball program is getting quite the 1-2 punch on the sidelines.

Brian Laffin, the former longtime Poughkeepsie High School boys basketball coach who was controversially let go following the 2016 season after almost 300 victories, will be the head coach at Millbrook this upcoming season.

Laffin will be joined on the bench by another celebrated area coach – and his friend – Tom Bell, who will serve as an assistant after having compiled more than 300 wins himself as the Poughkeepsie girls and Spackenkill boys coach. Bell was an assistant for the SUNY New Paltz men’s basketball team for the last three seasons.

“It was one of those things that was unexpected,” Laffin said Monday. “But after having conversations with (Millbrook athletic director Al Hammell) and going over the landscape, it became an attractive place.”

Since leaving Poughkeepsie after then-athletic director Bob Murphy declined to renew his contract, Laffin has stayed active in basketball. He has put on numerous youth clinics in Dutchess County and worked informally with the boys basketball team The Millbrook School, a private school not far from the Millbrook High School campus.

With the Blazers he will inherit a strong program that won Section 9, Class C championships in 2018 and 2019, and went to the finals in 2020.

Bringing Bell in was the icing on the cake.

“That was the final piece,” Laffin said of his buddy and fellow Poughkeepsie Middle School teacher. “We walk hoops all the time. I told him of this opportunity that has presented itself and him being at Spackenkill and being familiar with Section 9. He’s a basketball junkie and he wanted to do it.”

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