Coach of the season: Middletown South's Tom Brennan

Coach of the season: Middletown South's Tom Brennan

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Coach of the season: Middletown South's Tom Brennan

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How a team responds to adversity most times is a reflection of the head coach and the character of that team through out the season. For Middletown South and head coach Tom Brennan there was no shortage of adversity from the start of this 2014-15 season.

In Middletown South’s last practice before the first game of the season against Howell, senior and St. Francis (N.Y.) commit Jill Falvey went down with an ACL tear. Losing the six-foot forward/center definitely was an early test for Brennan and company.

“Most of the things we ran offensively went through Jill,” Brennan said.

Brennan was pressed to make some adjustments quickly both on the offensive and defensive end of the court, but in the end it was senior Angela DeBartolome who Brennan would lean on. According to Brennan, it was the court vision of DeBartolome and toughness on the defensive end that picked up the Eagles in the first half of the season.


Middletown South’s Angela DeBartolome drives to the basket past Franklin’s Tahirah Scott during first half action. Middletown South vs Franklin in TOC First Round play on March 17, 2015 in Toms River. Peter Ackerman/Staff Photographer

It also helped having the two-time Asbury Park Press All-Shore first team selection Steph Karcz on the court. Karcz averaged 17.6 points per game along with 9 rebounds and 6.2 steals per game. Her impact on the defensive end was crucial all season for the Eagles, who would eventually secure the first NJSIAA Group III title in school history.

Making school history was reflected upon by Brennan as bittersweet directly after the win against Old Tappan for the group title, with thoughts of his injured senior forward on his mind. We will never know what the Eagles could have been able to achieve with Falvey in the lineup, however the senior would not allow the early injury to define the season her teammates were going to have.

“Something like that can happen, and a team can just get the mindset that wow this just must not be our year,” Brennan said. “Jill never allowed the team to lower expectations.”

The road was clearly a tougher one for Midd. South, but it was the leadership of Falvey after her injury that continued to amaze her coach.

Middletown South season ends in TOC

RELATED: Middletown South dream season ends in TOC loss

“She is such a positive kid and to have her final season stolen from her because of that kind of injury must have been really tough,” Brennan said. “Our players definitely fed off that, if a kid was not having the best of games, it didn’t take long to look down the bench and see what Jill was going through to sort of put things back in perspective.”

Brennan took the humble route after being honored as the coach of the season from the Asbury Park Press sports department.

“It’s kind of overwhelming and just a massive compliment,” Brennan said. “It’s going to be cliche, but I want to credit my staff and kids, they really stepped up and played the best basketball late in the season when it mattered the most.”

Here were all the nominations for the winter 2015 coach of the season

Girls Basketball

RELATED: All-Shore Girls Basketball first team

  • Joe Whalen (St. Rose)
  • Lisa Kukoda (Mansaquan)
  • Dawn Karpell (St. John Vianney

Boys Basketball

RELATED: The 2015 Boys Basketball All-Shore Central

  • Chris Champeau (Rumson-FH)
  • Geoff Billet (CBA)
  • Andrew Bilodeau (Manasquan)
  • Frank Carmody (Shore)

Wrestling

RELATED: All-Shore First Team Capsules

  • Mike Denver (Brick Memorial)

Ice Hockey

RELATED: All-Shore First Team Capsules

  • Ryan Bogan Sr. (CBA)
  • Matt Hayes (Southern)
  • Alex DePalma (Point Boro)

Boys Swimming

RELATED: All-Shore Swimming Central

  • Vito Chiarvallotti (CBA)

Girls Swimming

RELATED: All-Shore Swimming Central

  • Craig Murin (Manasquan)

Staff Writer: Chris Parker cparker@app.com

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Coach of the season: Middletown South's Tom Brennan

Coach of the season: Middletown South’s Tom Brennan

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