Richard Starling Takes Helm at Timothy Christian

Replaces Fran Decker as TCS Tigers Boys Basketball Coach

Richard Starling, the new head boys basketball coach at Timothy Christian, watches his Tigers battle in the 2nd half against Spotswood in a GMC crossover game on December 17th.

PISCATAWAY, NJ—For the third time in the past four years, there is a different head coach on the sidelines at Timothy Christian. Richard Starling, a former assistant and JV coach at Wardlaw, has taken over the boys basketball program at TCS, replacing Fran Decker, who had two successful years at the school including the Tigers second ever GMC Gold title last year.

Starling might not be a familiar name in the GMC ranks, but he has built quite a name for himself in basketball circles. A Rahway native, Starling played high school basketball at the Patrick School when it was St. Patrick’s of Elizabeth and coached by current Montverde Academy (FL) head coach, Kevin Boyle. He then transferred to St. Anthony’s of Jersey City, and played a year of post graduate ball at Lee Academy in Maine.

Afterwards, he decided to tryout as a walk-on at Canisius College in Niagara, New York, and was able to make the team there. While he attracted several Division 2 scholarships, he decided to play at Canisius to achieve a goal of playing NCAA Division I basketball. He then transferred to Seton Hall and earned a business degree in the area of Sports Management. He then began to pursue a career in specialized basketball skills training.

He has served at Blair Academy, where he helped the Girls Basketball program there win four straight Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) championships. In addition, he also has coached in AAU circles with programs such as the RoadRunners and NJ Demons. Starling also contributes with US Hoops America run by Rich Leary and Tom Flaherty, the brother of Metuchen all time leading scorer Art Flaherty Sr., and uncle of Artie Flaherty Jr (also a 1,000 point scorer), and Danny Flaherty as well as the father of Katelynn Flaherty, who recently graduated the University of Michigan this past spring after scoring 2,776 points for the Lady Wolverines.

Starling now runs his own hoops program called ForeverIBall, which he began in 2012. You can see his videos on YouTube at He takes over a Timothy Christian program that not only won the GMC Gold, but also knocked off GMC crossover foe Middlesex (56-53) and knocked off Bound Brook (67-66), which reached the Central Jersey Group 1 Quarterfinals. The Tigers were 15-11 a year ago, and lost a heartbreaker to Gloucester Catholic (64-63) in the opening round of the Non-Public B South State Playoffs.

Timothy Christian, which not only lost head coach, Fran Decker, but also two 1,000 point scorers from last season in Robert Saydee (1,640 points) and Pierce Kokosinski (1,136 points). After taking over the helm from his mentor, Chris Hobbs, Decker coached two seasons at TCS, and compiled a record of 32-21 including a record of 23-5 in GMC Gold play. Hobbs, who now coaches at The King’s Academy in West Palm Beach, Florida, was 117-119 his nine seasons including six in the GMC at Timothy Christian.

So far this season, the Tigers are off to a tough start with losses in 6 of their first 7 games. TCS is 1-3 in GMC Gold play, and 1-4 in conference with a loss at Spotswood (69-37) on December 17th. Timothy Christian’s only victory was a 58-54 win at home versus South Amboy on December 21st. The Guvs have been on a roll since then with 4 wins in its last 5 games. TCS also suffered a close 58-54 loss to GMC newcomer, Calvary Christian of Old Bridge on December 19th, and lost a single digit contest to Millburn (61-52) in the Joe Pepe Invitational over the holidays.

Nate Aviles (12.3 ppg so far this season) and Lonnie Carden (11.7 ppg so far this season) are the top returning players from a year ago, and have played well for the Tigers. Carden has scored in double figures in 6 of the team’s 7 games including a season high of 18 points in the victory over South Amboy. Meanwhile, Aviles had scored in double figures in 5 of the team’s 7 games including a season high 19 in the opening night loss to Wardlaw (50-44).