Coleman will not field varsity girls squad
Former two-time state champion Stateswomen to only field a junior varsity squad this season
John A. Coleman Catholic High’s girls basketball program, which had won two state championships in the last seven years, will not be fielding a varsity team this upcoming season.
The team is no longer coached by three-time Freeman Coach of the Year Guy Leonard, who did not return after last season. The Stateswomen will have a junior varsity team only, coached by Andrea Clausi, who handled Coleman’s volleyball team in the fall,
“We have mostly ninth- and 10thgraders, so we will have a junior varsity program only,” Coleman Athletic Director Don Kiernan said.
The program was elevated to Class B by Section 9 in 2012. It struggled the last two seasons with low turnout. It fielded a varsity team, but no junior varsity.
“The last two years were brutal,” Leonard said.
Coleman did not qualify for sectionals in 2015. It won only a few games last year and lost in an outbracket contest in the Class B tournament.
“There’s no interest and I couldn’t put in the time,” remarked Leonard, who noted that few of the 2015-16 team were planning on returning.
Kiernan said that the JV team currently has eight players.
“Interest is down,” Kiernan agreed. “The kids don’t want to come out.”
This is a complete reversal of the highly successful run Coleman had under Leonard from 2006-14.
The Stateswomen won six consecutive Section 9 championships from 2008 through 2013 and reached the state final four for five straight years from 2008-2012. They won the state Class D titles in 2009 and ’11. Section 9 moved Cole-
man to Class C for the 201112 season where it reached the state semis.
The section elevated it again the following season, moving Coleman to Class B. The Stateswomen won the sectional crown, but lost in the regionals to Irvington, which was on its way to capturing a fourth straight state title.
Section 9 had planned on keeping Coleman in Class B for the current season.
“It’s sad,” said Leonard about the state of program. He had hoped to turn things around the past two years. “I stayed it out. It was not for the wins.”
John A. Coleman Catholic girls basketball coach Guy Leonard shows off state championship trophy after the Stateswomen won Class D title in 2009.