Suddenly, it’s crunch time for Nashua girls hoop programs
Let’s put things in perspective.
Brad Kreick took over the Bishop Guertin High School girls basketball program back in May of 2015.
When his Cardinals face Nashua South this winter, he’ll be coaching against his fourth Panther counterpart during that time.
That is a problem.
Kreick has put together the closest thing resembling the Nashua dynasty under John Fagula at BG since taking over. It’s not comparable by any means in terms of national prominence or major, major schools, etc., so let’s not get carried away or shout blasphemy.
But while they thrive at Lund Road, they are suffering at Riverside Drive. And not exactly on top at Titan Way, either.
North has had more stability, with Rickey Oliver there for years followed by three straigh seasons of his former assistant, Christina Bean, who confirmed that yes, she and her husband are expecting their first child so she now had to step away.
“It still hasn’t resonated with me,” she said. “But like I told the girls, I can’t wait to bring my daughter to their games and cheer them on this year.”
Is there less talent now in Nashua? That’s debatable. Kreick has players that could have starred for either public school, and some at Alvirne are gnasing their teeth for some of that Hudson talent that went private.
But right now in Nashua, coaching consistency has got to be a major factor here.
Oliver, remember, gave up the job thinking he was going to be heading out west for his day job. When that all changed, North had moved on, and he got back into the coaching game at Salem.
South’s revolving door began when Dan Wyborney had to step away due to family reasons, and eventually he stepped all the way to Amherst to become Souhegan’s AD. Dave Hogan did a great job filling in, and eyebrows were raised when Doug Booth was hired away from indoor track over Hogan to take the program.
Hogan was old school. Foolish parental moaning followed. Hogan out. Booth in. Booth pledged to build a program, but when he saw the track program he built in danger, he opted to jump to its rescue rather than build things in basketball. So sure, maybe one can second guess the Booth hire over Hogan, but you really never know.
Nashua had a good girls coach in the system (middle school) in Steve Largy. But seeing any path to the varsity blocked, he went to Goffstown and has a winning program.
One wonders if Ray DeRusha can be the long-term solution at South. Obviously, Nashua athletic director Lisa Gingras couldn’t discuss any candidates, but DeRusha has coached as an assistant in football, boys and girls basketball, and asstant-then-head guy in softball for some 25 years. He’s interested in the job, but it’s that last position, softball, that he resigned from that makes you wonder if he has a chance for a head job again. We might speculate, though, that one of the reasons Booth felt he could leave girls basketball was that it would be in good hands with DeRusha if he got promoted. But who really knows.
Those are decisions for the Gingras and the committee she is establishing to decide when they interview all the candidates.
One wonders who will be swimming in that pool, but Gingras sounded optimistic earlier this week that the jobs had already drawn good quality interest. That’s good, because some will quietly admit that often her hands are tied by the horrendous salaries Nashua coaches are making compared to other Division I – and non-Division I schools. Nashua coaches aren’t doing it for the money, that’s for sure.
So it takes a candidate who realizes that. With economics, it’s easy to promote the young assistant who works in the school system and craves for the head coaching job. There have been a lot of those hired over the last decade. Some have worked out, others haven’t. But clearly the economics have to be a factor.
Gingras the other day fittingly talked about consistency and longevity, and that’s something as well as experience she says she and her committee will look hard for.
Girls basketball is one of those sports where the stakes always get raised, and the parents get cranky. They spend dollars for their kids to play in AAU, etc., and often that inflates the view of players’ abilities, etc. A guy like Hogan would say they don’t give a hoot (to put it mildly) and let the coaches coach.
Let’s see what happens. Girls basketball in Nashua right now in the public sector is in crisis mode with head coaching openings at both schools.
The season may begin in December, but the end of August and then September will be the North and South programs’ most critical time.
Tom King may be reached at 594-1251, or@Telegraph_TomK, or email@example.com