Lady Coaches Reach Milestone Wins
Jun 16, 2014Posted by james

You don’t see them on ESPN, nor hear about them on sports talk radio. The newspapers cover their games, but the focus is on the outcomes, the wins and losses, rather than on the coaches. Earlier this year, though, coaches Gina Maher and Jane Morris did make headlines.

Gina coaches girls’ basketball at Irvington High School in Westchester County. On January 31, the 58-29 win against Rye Neck was her 600th career win as a Section 1 basketball coach. No other coach—for the boys or girls—ever reached this milestone.

Though the victory brought a smile to her face, she was humble in the achievement. She quickly turned the focus onto everyone else—to the crowd, to her family, to the team. She claimed she never scored a point and she never grabbed a rebound, but that she was just blessed with longevity and a staff to help build the program. Bottom line, she said it’s always about the kids.

Not too far away in distance or time, Jane reached a personal milestone in The Bronx on February 11. She has been the Cardinal Spellman High School girls’ varsity basketball coach for 40 years and, with a 61-52 win over Preston High School on her home court, she achieved her 700th victory.

Jane, too, reacted in a similar way. She said all the victories meant a lot to the girls and that they all had fun over the years. She regularly meets many of her older players again, and some of them now introduce their grandchildren to her.

Jane has done so much more than coach the girls at Spellman. She was a player for the school and later on, along with two other women, founded the girls’ division of the Catholic High School Athletic Association. Through her work, huge positive changes have come to girls’ athletics since the late 1970s.

It is so wonderful that, over the last four decades, we have seen so many advancements in women’s athletics on all levels. Let’s remember that we still have so much more to accomplish both in sports and in that portion of life after sports known as business.


Unorthodox Style Can Be Effective
Jun 02, 2014Posted by james

Not much about Abby Squirrell’s game stands out to a spectator. A six-foot one-inch junior forward for Ossining High School’s basketball team in Westchester County, she is a solid rebounder and puts points on the board.

But, when Abby stands at the free-throw line, everyone in the stands notices her. She uses only one hand for her routine—bouncing the ball, putting it in position and then taking the shot. She certainly has one of the most unorthodox foul shooting techniques anywhere in the game. She also is second on the team in free-throw percentage, making seven out of 10 shots.

Abby’s coach explains that the basketball is supposed to be shot with one hand. The other hand serves as the guide. She just took it one step farther. It works for her and as they say, “no harm, no foul.”

But, what would happen, if during a huge regular season or playoff game, the margin of victory came down to an Abby Squirrell foul shot? A lot of people—teammates, the coach, the fans—would cringe, right?

The coach does not give it any thought. She is the team’s second-best foul shooter. They want her at the line.

Just as with sports, a person always can try something a little different, or unorthodox, in business. Others first may look on with puzzlement. But if successful, they will soon mimic or adapt it.

Do you have an idea or tactic that is a little unorthodox? Give it a try. You never know where it may lead.

Oh, and one more thing—I knew I liked Abby when I first heard about her foul shooting. She also happens to be one of her school’s best lacrosse players!