Upper Dublin names new girls’hoops coach
After seven years as the jayvee boys’ basketball coach at Upper Dublin, Morgan Funsten has finally been given the opportunity to do what he’s always wanted to do – be the head coach at a school where he also teaches.
On Monday night, Funsten was officially hired as the new coach for the Upper Dublin girls’ basketball team, taking over for Vince Catanzaro, who was at the helm for 11 years.
Funsten, who teaches high school math, has been coaching basketball for eight years, while also being the assistant coach for the Upper Dublin boys’ soccer team. And now, just days after being hired, Funsten has already begun working with his new team.
“We had our first open gym on Tuesday,” he said, “so we’re going to be seeing a lot of each other before practice officially begins in November. I saw the posting and I felt like it was a coaching job that was just too good to pass up, so I put my name in the running.”
Funsten was originally notified on July 25 that the job would be his.
“I was real excited,” he said. “I had interviewed about two weeks prior and I had to check my email and voicemail like 25 times a day. I was so anxious to find out and when I got the call, I was ecstatic.”
Upper Dublin’s sports programs have been led by Hope Donnell for the past few years, who sat in as the school’s athletic director. But Eric dreiner, who was with Upper Dublin in previous years, has stepped back in as the school’s AD and is very confident with the decision to go with Funsten.
“I am excited about the passion and enthusiasm that Coach Funsten has for the sport and that he will bring to the girls’ program,” dreiner said. “He has an exciting vision for the future of the girls’ basketball team at Upper Dublin and looks to continue with the winning tradition that has been established.”
That winning tradition, which has been consistent over the past few seasons, saw the Lady Cardinals finish last season with an overall record of 23-6, including a second place finish in the Suburban One American Conference, as well as a berth in the PIAA Class AAAA tournament.
And Funsten, who pointed out how some coaches take over for teams and have to start rebuilding, cited his team’s recent success as one of the
best aspects of taking over at Upper Dublin.
“Sometimes, you have a program that is rebuilding, but this opportunity is not one of those,” Funsten said. “It’s a championship-caliber program and I feel like I’m stepping right into it and that was very exciting to me when choosing this job.”
Upper Dublin lost two of its key starters to graduation, including 1,000-point scorer Taylor Bryant, but it returns three starters and a number of key bench players from last year’s team.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but the returning starters and the other girls who played important minutes have a lot of talent and commitment, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they bring to the table,” Funsten said. “It’s always a bit of a learning curve with a new coach, but we’re going to try to meet with the girls as much as possible.”
Funsten said that his staff is still “a work in progress,” and he and Greiner will sit down to figure out what members of the coaching staff will be brought back for this winter season.
But even with all the uncertainties – whether they be the coaching staff, who will be replacing the lost starters or how the girls will respond to a new coach, Funsten said that he’s beyond excited to begin coaching a new team, especially one at a school where he can teach and see the kids out of practice.
“It was important for me to be a teacher at a school where I taught and I’m excited about that,” he said. “I already know a lot of the players and will see them in school and I think we’ll be able to compete for a league championship and another state playoff berth. This was just one of those opportunities that I could not pass up and I’m excited.”
Morgan Funsten has been named the new Upper Dublin High School girls’ basketball coach.