By Mike Zacchio
After 30 years and the most prestigious basketball coaching career in Rockland County history, Pearl River coach Lorraine Moylan has resigned.
Moylan — the winningest basketball coach in Rockland history, boys or girls — informed her team of the decision during a team meeting Friday, one day after the top-seeded Pirates had fallen to Albertus Magnus, 59-56 in double overtime, in the Section 1 Class A semifinals.
Moylan, 54, coached Albertus Magnus to four sectional Class B titles and two state championships from 1983-92 before taking the reins of her alma mater in 1993. During her 20 years at the helm of Pearl River, Moylan led the Pirates to two sectional Class A titles and one regional championship.
“I’ve had a couple of tough meetings in my life, and that was probably the second-toughest meeting in my life,” Moylan said, citing her resignation from Albertus Magnus as the only tougher one. “It was a difficult and very emotional time.”
After three decades of coaching, Moylan said the decision is one she has been contemplating for the last few years. She also said that continuing to coach without the same energy she had years ago would be unfair to her team.
“If I’m pushing (my team) to play and give 150 percent, and I can’t do the same, it’s not fair,” she said. “They deserve the best, and I don’t want to cheat them.”
During her illustrious career, Moylan has accumulated a 536-140 record, trailing only Gina Maher of Irvington (583) for the most wins in Section 1 girls basketball history.
“She’s one of the most amazing coaches Section 1 has ever seen,” said Maher, who has been good friends with Moylan since the mid-1980s. “I love her. I have such a respect for her as a coach.
“She gets more out of her players than anyone else.”
Maher was in disbelief when she heard the news.
“I’m in absolute shock,” said Maher, who also happens to have the most wins of any basketball coach in Section 1 history. “This is a great loss for Section 1 girls basketball.”
Moylan still plans on being a part of the Pearl River basketball program, just not as the head coach. She has no plans to retire from her role as a physical-education teacher.
“I’ll definitely still be teaching,” she said. “Even still coaching, just in a different role. … Whoever takes this program over, if they want my help, I’ll help them.”
For the time being, Moylan said she does not plan on returning to a head-coaching role, but has not definitively ruled it out.
“It’s like Michael Jordan: He retired, and then he came back,” she said. “I don’t think (I’ll come back), but you can never say never. For right now, I know it’s the right time, right now.”
Even if it’s not on the basketball sidelines, Moylan still plans on being active in the Pearl River community.
“Pearl River is home to me,” she said. “It’s a special place; it’s a special community. Parents, kids — they’re all very supportive. … One of my greatest decisions ever to do was to come to Pearl River to teach and coach. It’s one of my best memories.”