By: Tyler Trumbauer
“I’m not going to be just another guy that’s in and out of there in one season.”
Those are the words of the new Lehighton girls’ basketball head coach, Eric Gidney. He also believes that he has a huge challenge ahead of him in the inaugural season of his era at Lehighton.
“Convincing the school board, the administration, the players and the community that I am not just here for one year is going to be tough. That is what I am going to be doing my first year. I want them to realize and see through my work and dedication that I am here to stay unlike the last few coaches.”
Gidney was approved by the Lehighton Area School District’s School Board during their April 22nd meeting. He is more of an unknown in the Lehigh Valley area as his past has been spent closer to the City of Brotherly Love.
Gidney has a lot of coaching experience; however none of it has been in the Valley. He was the head coach for seven years at the Shipley School, which is a college-preparatory school in Bryn Mawr. Additionally Gidney was the head coach at the Friends Select School in Center City Philadelphia and he was also the Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at Ursinus College.
Throughout his coaching career Gidney has experienced success. He has won in different leagues and on different levels. Hopefully he has brought that success with him as he is inheriting a struggling team. The Lehighton girls’ basketball program has been on a downward spiral over the last few years that include just a few more wins than the amount of head coaches over the last 5 years.
Gidney replaced Ray Brossi who went 6-38 in two seasons at the helm. The Indians went 4-18 last year overall while being just 2-10 in the Mountain Valley Conference.
The Pottstown resident acknowledges that there is work to be done with this program, but he might not do what you expect. “I’m not coming in with that defeated attitude and think that things can’t be changed. I’m going to be doing things differently. I’m going to be doing things that they aren’t accustomed to.” He continued, “The structure and the customs I bring may be a little unique compared to what they have seen over the last few years. They really haven’t had any structure recently. I really want to come in and see what kind of hand we are dealt and focus on that. I’m going to come in and structure the program and our philosophies based on what the players are capable of doing. Then we will go from there.”
In a phone interview earlier this week, Gidney was ecstatic when talking about his first meeting with the players. This meeting happened last Friday, May 2 at the high school. He mentioned that there were about “17 or 18 players in attendance.” He also was happy that every single young lady that was on the roster from last season was at that meeting.
The newest Indian is unsure of what the future holds at Lehighton. According to Gidney, the Lehighton girls’ basketball middle school team went 17-1 last winter. Which brightened his outlook a little, but he still wants to do one thing.
“I want to teach these girls to play basketball. These girls are taught plays and sets, but when those break down they don’t know what to do,” Gidney said. “What we will do is place them in certain spots on the floor and teach them how to play. How to move without the ball; How to set a back door screen…I don’t drown my players with playbooks.”
There certainly is going to be a huge change coming ashore in Lehighton with Gidney’s arrival. He wants to change the atmosphere surrounding the girls’ basketball program and will start on the court and have that ripple in to the community by having his team out in the town volunteering their time.
It seems early on that Lehighton may have found a hidden gem in Gidney, who applied for the coaching vacancy back in 2004, but didn’t make the cut. They may have even knocked it out of the park by getting him aboard. It will be interesting to see if Gidney can reciprocate and hit a homerun with the program.
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