Cole­man will not field var­sity girls squad

For­mer two-time state cham­pion Stateswomen to only field a ju­nior var­sity squad this sea­son

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mike Stribl mstribl@free­manon­line.com @MStribl on Twit­ter

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.”

AP FILE

John A. Cole­man Catholic girls bas­ket­ball coach Guy Leonard shows off state cham­pi­onship tro­phy af­ter the Stateswomen won Class D ti­tle in 2009.

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