New Coaches on County Courts
It is a new year with plenty of new faces on the local high school basketball scene when practices get under way on Monday.
At least five head coaching positions turned over since last March. That includes the departures of some of the most successful high school coaches in the county.
At Pittsfield's St. Joseph Central High School, both the boys and girls teams have someone new at the helm as Randy Kinnis takes over the boys program and Antwan Morrison coaches the girls. Kinnis has some big shoes to fill replacing Paul Brindle, who took the Crusaders to two state title games in seven seasons.
State title games are almost de rigueur for the Lee girls basketball team. The Wildcats have eight state titles, including one under Gary Wellington, who stepped down after last year's loss in the Division 3 title game.
2005 Lee graduate Jenna Gangell takes over after serving as an assistant under Wellington.
Another former assistant, Dustin Belcher, is moving up a seat on the bench after Berkshire County coaching legend Ed Ladley decided not to return for a 43rd season. Ladley took his teams to five Western Mass championships and one state title.
Change also is afoot in North County, where the Drury girls will be led by Jay Meehan, the one-time boys coach at neighboring Mount Greylock.
Meehan takes over a Blue Devils girls program that went to three Western Massachusetts championship games — including last year's — under John Franzoni.