McNelis in her senior year at the University of Rochester.
Last year, the Mamaroneck Girls’ Varsity Basketball team had a record of 3-15. Its season ended on an unfortunate note, with coach Panaro stepping down from her position. However, many were excited to hear that the athletics department was able to hire New York Extreme Hoops AAU coach, Johanna McNelis. “Jo” played on Rye Neck High School’s varsity team for four years, where she is still the all-time-leading scorer, amassing a total of 1407 points over the course of her illustrious career. McNelis continued her basketball career at the University of Rochester; the team went 88-24 during her four years. “Jo” currently works for Performance Physical Therapy and coaches several girls basketball teams through the prestigious New York Extreme Hoops program. When The Globe learned of McNelis’ hiring, it was able to secure an interview, in which she was asked the following questions:
1. What experience do you have with coaching basketball?
“My coaching experience ranges from running camps and clinics to coaching high level AAU girls’ teams. I started coaching travel basketball for Westport PAL (Police Athletic League) and coached there for several years. I went on to coach AAU basketball from 5th-11th grade. This year, I will be coaching my first Varsity basketball team at Mamaroneck High School.”
2. Why did you choose to coach at MHS?
“I have a strong passion for coaching basketball and enjoy teaching how the game of basketball can teach life lessons. I chose to coach high school to learn from new, aspiring female athletes and to bring my coaching abilities to the next level. I am excited to give back to this particular community because it is my hometown, and I look forward to representing Mamaroneck with pride.”
3. What do you hope to do for the girls’ basketball program at MHS?
“I hope to create a strong program that gets better every day, every season. It is important to me to create a close, tight-knit unit that understands teamwork and supporting one another. I hope to create an environment in which all girls feel that they’ve learned something, set a common goal, and have achieved that goal.”
4. What is it like to be coaching a whole new set of girls that you aren’t familiar with?
“It’s exciting to enter into a new pool of potential talent. When you step into a new group of athletes, you have the chance to learn new things and adapt your coaching skills to that group of players. I am looking forward to helping this young group of girls become dedicated, motivated and successful female basketball players.”
Considering Coach “Jo’s” experience and goals for the program, the girls’ basketball team is in good hands. When asked about “Coach “Jo” and her expectations for the upcoming season, Emma Goldstein ‘17 said, “The whole team is excited for a fresh start this year with Coach “Jo,” and I am hopeful that we are going to have a successful season.” Coach “Jo” seems like an excellent fit for the job and more than capable of bringing the program to its full potential. Now, only time will tell if her she is the right woman for the job.
By Lindsey Randall and Olivia McDonald