Although it’s the spring sports season, basketball made headlines last week when St. Johnsbury Academy hired former St. Michael’s College coach Tom O’Shea as its boys' basketball coach.
O’Shea replaces Bill Fitzgerald, who resigned at the end of the 2010-11 season.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to work up there,” O’Shea told the Burlington Free Press. “I think coaching is coaching. It’s a different level, but it’s still trying to get the most out of the kids and develop their skills. I’m looking forward to it.”
O’Shea was St. Michael’s head coach for 13 seasons before he resigned following the 2009-10 season. He is the program’s leader in career victories (176) and steered the Purple Knights to a school-record 27 victories during the 2000-01 season. St. Michael’s made two appearances in the NCAA Division Ii tournament during O’Shea’s tenure.
O’Shea’s 2000-01 St. Michael’s team won the Northeast-10 Conference regular-season and tournament championships, and reached the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16.
Although St. Johnsbury Academy is a private boarding school, it also serves as the high school for local residents. The school’s boys basketball program competes in Division I.
This will be the first time O’Shea has coached at the high school level since he was South Burlington’s junior varsity coach while he was playing at the University of Vermont. He graduated from Vermont in 1987.
O’Shea will also serve as the school’s assistant director of admissions.
“We are excited to have someone with Tom’s experience joining our coaching staff,” St. Johnsbury Academy assistant headmaster Beth Choiniere said. “His years at St. Michael’s College show that he knows what it takes to build successful programs.”
TIGHT AT THE TOP
There appears to be no clear favorite in Division I baseball, where every team has suffered at least one loss.
Rutland is unbeaten against in-state competition (8-0), but dropped a 13-4 decision to Amherst (Mass.) last weekend. Rutland has outscored in-state competition 93-26, and scored at least 11 runs in six of its eight games.
Essex (5-1), Colchester (4-1), Rice (4-1), BFA-St. Albans (4-1) and Mount Anthony (7-2) are among the other contenders. Essex will play at Colchester on Thursday.
NFF HONORS RICE PLAYERS
Rice Memorial wide receiver Billy Weaver and Rice quarterback Christian McCormick were each recognized at the Vermont Chapter of the National Football Foundation’s annual banquet last weekend at Castleton State College
Weaver, a junior, received the Most Courageous Athlete Award. He has overcome Crohn’s Disease to play three years of football for the Green Knights.
McCormick, a senior, received the Pride of Vermont Award, which goes to the most outstanding high school football player in the state.
BRATTLEBORO LOOKS UNBEATABLE
No softball team is off to a stronger start than Brattleboro, which improved its Division I record to 7-0 by beating Mount Anthony 15-0 on Monday.
Brattleboro has scored 96 runs and allowed seven. The Colonels have shut out four teams, and have scored at least 10 runs in six of their seven games. The team’s only scare came during a 2-1 victory over Stevens of Claremont, N.H. Brattleboro has also beaten Keene, N.H., 10-3.
DELAY OF GAMES
More than 40 high school athletic events were postponed because of unplayable field conditions Tuesday, and wet fields and bad weather has been the theme for Vermont’s high school athletes, coaches and athletic directors this spring.
Many Division II boys and girls lacrosse teams have yet to play their first game.
The Vermont Principals’ Association normally requires schools to play seven-inning doubleheaders, but is allowing five-inning games for doubleheaders this spring.
Teams are also required to complete at least 60 percent of their regular-season games to participate in their sport’s postseason tournament, but the VPA has discussed the possibility of waiving that rule this year.
Mount Mansfield’s Sam Spencer pitched 10 1/3 innings against BFA-St. Albans last Friday, but didn’t get the win. BFA-St. Albans starter Andrew Delaricheliere also pitched 10 1/3 innings, but failed to collect the win as well.
BFA-St. Albans won the contest when Nick Swim scored on Ruben Gilbert’s squeeze bunt in the 11th inning. Colin Howrigan threw four pitches in the top of the 11th to earn the victory.
Delaricheliere allowed four hits and struck out five. Spencer limited BFA-St. Albans to three hits and finished with six strikeouts.
Damian Smith tossed a five-inning perfect game to lead Blue Mountain to a 16-0 triumph over Chelsea on April 21.
Smith, who threw 60 pitches, struck out 12 of the 15 batters he faced. He also collected three hits in the victory.
Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He currently covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.