Kevin McDormand’s unexpected resignation as head coach of the Lynn Tech girls basketball team has unleashed a torrent of conversations about whom will apply for the vacant position.
Of course, any talk about a successor begins with the current assistants at Tech but Rob Upton, a soccer coach at Lynn Classical, and Jason Jimenez, will reportedly not apply for the head coaching position.
One name that would zoom to the top of the list is Helen Ridley, the former Lynn Classical and Quinnipiac College captain who has returned to Lynn after coaching in the Quinnipiac women’s basketball program. Ridley is the daughter of former Tech principal Jim Ridley, who has stayed active with the Thundercats AAU organization.
Helen Ridley has not applied for recent vacancies in the area but her credentials would make her a strong candidate.
In Ridley’s case it is not unprecedented, by any means, for an alumnus or former star athlete from one Lynn school to take a head coaching position at another school in the city. Classical softball coach Chris Warren immediately comes to mind, having been a star quarterback of a Super Bowl team at Lynn English before becoming the leader of the highly successful Lynn Classical program.
Rachael Bradley, an assistant coach on Fred Hogan’s staff at Lynn English, would also be a formidable candidate for a head coaching position. Bradley has coached the English freshman team in the past and those players developed into key contributors at the varsity level. Bradley was well liked by her players and Hogan respects her presence in a high-energy program that should be a Division 1 state title contender next season.
Bradley also has college basketball playing experience on her resume, having competed for four seasons at Endicott following her career at St. Mary’s High School.
Middle school teacher and coach Erica Sonia would also merit strong consideration from the Tech selection committee. Sonia is a former star athlete herself at St. Mary’s and has returned to coach girls basketball at the Marshall Middle School in addition to her work in the St. Mary’s girls soccer and softball programs. Sonia knows the Lynn sports scene very well and appears poised to take over a program in the near future.
One name that always shows up in girls basketball coaching conversations is Julie Halloran, who enjoyed tremendous success at Swampscott High and whose mentorship helped launched the coaching careers of Jeff Newhall, whose St. Mary’s basketball program is top notch, and Catelyn Leonard, a former Big Blue All-Scholastic who is the head coach at Revere High School.
Could Halloran – a former Division 1 basketball player at Northeastern – lead Tech to perennial championship contending status? Absolutely. Does she want to return to the sidelines and coach at Tech? We’ll see.
Shawn Thornton, who is stepping down as coach and director of athletics at Pope John XXIII High School in Everett, will also take a look at the Tech position. Thornton has coached winning teams (33-3 in the Catholic Central Small the past three seasons at St. Clement and Pope John) and also serves on the Spartan Basketball Camp led by Jeff Newhall.
Simi Anderson, a former assistant coach at Lynn English, is also taking a look at the Tech position. Anderson was present at tryouts Saturday for the new American Basketball League (ABA) professional men’s team that is being coached by former Boston Celtics player Walter McCarty. Anderson is also in line to take over the annual Hogan Basketball Tournament held each summer at Marian Gardens. Anderson has been hoping to get back in to a position of prominence on the high school basketball scene and his love of basketball cannot be denied.
The biggest blockbuster name being floated is that of Tech boys basketball coach Marvin Avery, who would try to duplicate the success he has already had the school. Avery and Jim Ridley have helped develop Division 1 players in the Thundercats girls’ program and there is no question that Avery would bring instant excitement and recognition to Tech girls basketball if he were its leader. But Avery has a great rapport with the returning players in his program and he expects his team to return to title-contending status next season in the Commonwealth Conference.
It is unknown who will emerge as the next Tech girls basketball coach but it appears that Tech director of athletics Joseph Skeadas and principal Diane Paradis will have a sizable number of candidates for the position.