A bit of a coaching carousel has sprung up this offseason, and a few of the names involved are ones with long tenures.
Today’s Journal News has a story about Don Hamlin moving from Briarcliff to Brewster. After 24 years at Briarcliff (16 on varsity), Hamlin said he needed a change. He preferred the challenging environment of large-school competition. Brewster had an opening because of the retirement of Doris Schukin, its 22-year coach.
I wasn’t able to speak to Schukin before the story went to press because she was on vacation. We spoke today, however, and she filled me in on her perspective.
She stepped down because it had been 22 years (21 on varsity) since she got Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Valentine’s off. That’s a lot of years to have to put family and friends on the back burner. She figured it was time to step aside even though the team returns its entire starting five.
“Their senior year I wanted them to have someone that was 100 percent into it and gung ho,” she said. “The time and the years were starting to get to me a little bit. I wanted to make sure they were left with a coach that could bring in a new energy.”
Nervous about leaving them in bad hands, Schukin (pictured right, with AD Lance Pliego and former player Emily Tapio, in a New York Pride photo) was delighted to learn that Hamlin had applied for the job. As a two-time sectional champion and a mainstay at the County Center, Hamlin is the kind of coach that is rarely available.
Interestingly, Brewster has a Steelers-like run of continuity with its girls basketball coaches. Schukin’s predecessor was Walt Kenney, a man who held the job for, Schukin estimates, 25-plus years. That makes two coaches in about 50 years. Does that mean Hamlin has to sign a 20-year contract?
Schukin will continue to teach phys ed at the school and will help out with the basketball team.
Briarcliff is still searching for its next coach.
There were other changes in the section involving Scarsdale and Hastings. I’ll have news on that later in the week.