New coach brings winning attitude to a young Lady Colonel squad

Justin Franiak, Asst. Sports Editor

With a little over a week left in the pre-season, the Wilkes Women’s Basketball team is looking to start with a clean slate and move on from last year. After a disappointing 2010-2011 campaign, the Colonels are looking forward to a fun and exciting season, according to new head coach Chris Heery.
Finding an identity is something that Coach Heery stressed, and he believes he can use his experience to instill some new life into the Lady Colonels.
“We’ve brought the same mentality,” Heery said, “I think we’ve brought a lot of energy and success from the other program.
Coach Heery comes over from Muhlenberg College where he was an assistant coach, and set numerous school records and reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen a bunch of times. He compiled a record of 131-31. with the Mules. While at Muhlenberg,  Heery had a very busy schedule, but now he says he is fully focused on the team and what is to come this season.
With four returning player, and nine freshman coming into this year, Coach Heery doesn’t believe you should force a certain system onto a team, but instead get a feel for how the team is meshing.
“ I’m not the kind of coach to think you can get your team to bend to your program,” Heery said, “I believe that you need to find what’s best in the players and do what’s best for them.”
Heery said he is fortunate to have four great returning players, but also to have a great freshman class. The roster is currently set at thirteen players, and Heery believes that is just the right number to settle in on and start the season.
Heery credits captains Amanda Pawloski, a junior, and Whitney Connolly, a senior, for taking responsibility for offseason workouts and communications, and in the long run he believes this hard work will transfer onto the court.
Another returnee from last years squad is junior guard Megan Kazmerski. The teams returning leading scorer believes the transition to a new coach is going very smooth and that the incoming freshman are working well with the team.
“Dealing with the freshman has been easy,” Kazmerski said, “They are a great bunch of kids and we all get a long well, and hopefully that will transfer to play on the court.”
Kazmerski’s goals for the season, and team goals, are to make the playoffs and just improve on last year’s season. She is very excited for the season to come.
“I am looking forward to this season a lot” Kazmerski said, “The change has been Team captain Amanda Pawlowski also loves the changes being made to the program.
“The transition to the new coach is going great,” Pawlowski said, “We are improving each day and coach Chris has alot of new ideas for our team this year. All of our coaches are very positive about this year which is something we need.
Coach Heery, a Kutztwon University graduate, believe his team is going to fly under the radar this year. He said that the scoring is going to come from all parts of the court, and believes by doing this it will make the Lady Colonels even harder to get scouted by other teams.
One of  Heery’s main goals is to change the culture of basketball here at Wilkes. He wants to get people excited about the upcoming season an get them to root on his squad.
Coach Heery stressed community outreach is one of the ways to get people to cheer on his developing team.
The Lady Colonels have recently participated in flood relief, had a car wash, done work for a breast cancer festival and organization, and are currently selling t-shirts in order to get the word out about Wilkes Womens Basketball.
“We’re hoping to get people excited about us,” Heery said, “that they can come and root us on and give them entertaining basketball.”
Although Coach Heery said that there is no official motto for the team yet, it seems to be that the Lady Colonels will be built around hard work and a tight defense. The team is still coming together and developing chemistry.
The Ladys Colonels will put that chemistry to the test in their season opener on November 5th at Penn State-Hazleton.positive and I am sure it will also have a positive outcome on our season.”