The 2016 girls basketball team at Cromwell High School celebrates an undefeated championship season.
Cromwell High School athletic director and girls’ basketball coach Kelly Maher has decided to step down from coaching to channel all of her energy into her role as the director of athletics.
Maher said the role of an athletic director has changed over the last couple of years and the 12-month commitment to her AD job prompted the decision.
“It just happened to be the right time,” said Maher, who has been a head coach at CHS since 2007. “I have confidence in whoever will be taking over as the next coach.”
Maher leaves the bench after an extremely fruitful 15 season guiding the Panthers, winning 315 games and three state championships during her time on the bench.
She coached two undefeated teams (2013 and 2016) and won 83% of her games.
Mya Villard, who played on both undefeated teams under Maher and was a two-time all-state player prior to graduating in 2016, said, “Coach Maher has left a legacy at Cromwell High that is reflected not only in the record books but also in the relationships she built with players.”
“Year after year Cromwell continues to be a dominant program, but her character and what she stands for is what I will remember Coach Maher for,” added Villard, who went on to be a star of the courts at Eastern Connecticut State University. “I will forever cherish the memories as a team and the bond we built with each other. She will be missed but has built a strong program that will continue to be successful in the future.”
Prior to taking over as the head coach, Maher served as an assistant coach and her ties to school date back over three decades, having played basketball at CHS before graduating in 1995.
“It will probably be weird once that first practice day comes along, but I’m sure I’ll make an adjustment,” Maher said of not having to prepare for a season.
Whoever takes over on the head coaching duties is getting an experienced group. The Panthers are slated to return every player from a season ago, including all-conference players Nevaeh Clark (1st team), Jessica Grodzicki (1st team), Adela Cecunjanin (2nd team), Cameryn Hickey (honorable mention).
“The kids are great and they have come a long way. Now I’m just watching them from a different level, as an outsider and not a coach. I told them they can’t escape; I’ll still be watching them,” Maher said with a smile.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin