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Darrion Trammell’s San Francisco coaches follow star on dream March Madness run

Justin Labagh (left), Adam D'Acquisto (center) and Rob Marcaletti (right) followed Darrion Trammell to the Final Four. | Courtesy Rob Marcaletti

Former St. Ignatius head basketball coach Rob Marcaletti has been racking up the frequent flyer miles lately.

When he returns home on Tuesday, he’ll have traveled more than 9,000 miles in 11 days to see his former player, Darrion Trammell, throughout a March Madness run with the San Diego State Aztecs.

Marcaletti, who coached Trammell for three seasons at SI, flew to Indianapolis last Saturday night with his wife, Elisa, before renting a car and driving to Louisville for Sunday’s Elite 8 victory over Creighton, where Trammell sank the winning free throw with 1.2 seconds left. A week later, he flew to Texas with City College of San Francisco (CCSF) head coach Justin Labagh and assistant coach Adam D’Acquisto for the Final Four and National Championship Game.

Labagh and D’Acquisto coached Trammell at CCSF during the 2019-20 season, where the Rams were 30-0 and on their way to a state championship appearance before being shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He was the MVP of that team,” Labagh said.

Darrion Trammell (12) claps during San Diego State's Elite 8 victory over Creighton. | Grace Bradley/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Marcaletti, who stepped down from his coaching position at St. Ignatius that same year while remaining an assistant athletic director, has spent the last two seasons as an assistant on the CCSF staff.

“He’s so likable, man. He’s such a good kid,” Marcaletti said of Trammell. “He’s the underdog everyone wants to root for.”

While finding flights to Houston is usually a breeze, thanks to the city’s two large airports, the Final Four made it almost impossible to travel to the nation’s fourth-largest city. Instead, the coaches flew to Jack Brooks Regional Airport, located between Port Arthur and Beaumont. They left San Francisco at 6 a.m. and had a layover in Dallas before arriving at the airport, which is located just a 30-minute drive from the Louisiana state line. It’s a 97-mile drive from the airport to NRG Stadium, where the Final Four is being hosted.

“We had to figure it out last-minute with family schedules,” Labagh said. “But there was never a question of if we were going to be here.”