Charles Melone, better known as “Coach CP,” describes basketball as his one true love.
He takes his passion for the sport with him to work every day as the athletics director at the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens in Astoria. Melone oversees all things sports, as well as runs all of the sports teams.
The Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens has a nationally recognized AAU basketball program, which Melone founded before he started working there seven years ago.
“We take underprivileged kids from this area, especially from Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Woodside, and Astoria [houses],” Melone said. “It’s a lot of amazing kids that just weren’t given an opportunity, and so with our basketball program we give them that opportunity to play against the best kids in the country.”
Melone attended Caldwell University on a basketball scholarship, and realized he wanted to stay in the game when his own basketball career came to an end.
“At a young age, my father always really nailed home that you have to give back if you have an opportunity to,” he said. “And so I figured what better way to give back than to find a common interest, which is sports and basketball that I love. That way, I could work with kids and continue to pay it forward and make sure that not only am I happy in my own life, but I’m helping other kids achieve their dreams.”
As for what he does in his free time, Melone said there isn’t much free time.
“Even on the weekends we’re traveling to tournaments, we have training sessions, and we have college exposure things,” he said. “So I’m always kind of working, but it doesn’t feel like work and I love it.”
One thing Melone is excited about is that the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens will have its first baseball team since the ‘60s starting this year.
“The gym is always packed, the kids just want to be here,” he said. “I hope to be in this community for a long time, and I’m very grateful to the Variety Boys and Girls Club for giving me this opportunity. I hope I continue to make them and the community proud.”