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Girmindl's Ghost

A diary of Shaker High School's 2005-2006 basketball season, a retelling of Shaker's fabled 1979-1980 season, and general commentary on high school hoops, updated daily...


"I like sitting in the back row. I found that sitting against the wall is just easier on your back." -Dean Smith, on the comfort of the H-gym bleachers

From Coach Holmes...

A letter from Coach Holmes: Coach Holmes asked me to share this letter with all of my readers, so I'll do just that. I'll be back later this week with a wrap-up of the season. This was a fantastic year, and the loss to Albany is, for me, already fading as I look back upon this truly magnificent season.

Anyway, here's Coach:
Dear Matt:

Please share this with the readers of Girmindl's Ghost. We have truly had a season to remember. As disappointing as it was to end it, it is even harder to face that we won't be together again for any more games, practices, and team gatherings. I would be remiss if I didn't take the opportunity to thank some people for their part in our success.

First of all wanted to write to express a sincere thank you to you for everything you have done to promote our team and school. It has been tremendously refreshing to read all your insights and observations.

I would really like to thank our students, specifically the "6th Man" Group for your outstanding and spirited support. Our players were so lucky to have fellow students and friends so supportive. Believe me, they were very grateful. You've shown us what true school spirit is all about!!

I would like to thank our parents for your unconditional support throughout the season. I realize how huge a commitment having a son that plays Varsity basketball is and how big the demands are. I certainly appreciate the sacrifices you have made on behalf of your son.

I have a fantastic staff to work with. Shawn Hennessey is a former player of mine, who played on our 1991-92 championship team, that did an exceptional job as Modified Coach developing his players and the team concept. Dan Bonono coached our Freshmen team to an 18-2 record and helped our program in a lot of ways (scouting, open gyms, camps, ect.) My J.V. coach and office partner Steve DeMarco has been a solid and loyal member of our staff for all but one of my sixteen years as Varsity Coach. He is most definitely a "program first" coach and always will be. I can't even express in words how fortunate I am to have Varsity assistants like Mike Brehm and Steve Sheffer, but I'll try anyway. Mike is an outstanding coach in his own right and compliments our team with his tremendous knowledge and communication skills. He keeps everyone loose with his keen sense of humor and mannerisms. Steve is a "do anything and no task too small" type of guy. He would do any thing for our program, cares deeply for our players, and is all about Shaker Basketball. During the bulk of the season, Steve, who works for the U.S. Postal Service, was working nights staring at 1:00 A.M. and sometimes 3:00 A.M. to noon. He rarely, if ever, missed practice, unless his job required him to travel out of town. I can't think of a coach, in my position, who is as lucky as I am to have such great guys and friends to work with.

Lastly, I can't say enough about our team. I had great, great kids who believed in our program and staff. Our Seniors were outstanding leaders who gave every ounce of energy they had to the team. As it has been documented, I had to literally kick them out of the gym after every practice. I had serious doubts about our underclassmen before the season. They were quickly squashed when the season started and when they were thrown in the fire in our first tournament. I am very excited about the potential and progress of this group for the future.

I can't believe how how lucky as a coach I have been to have a player like Brad Sheehan. Not just because he is a scholarship player going to ACC school, or scored over 1,000 points, or been on two Suburban Council Championship teams, or player of the Year in the Suburban Council. It's because he is a fine young man that is all that is right about high school basketball. He is the whole package: serious student, dedicated player, great teammate, and a quiet, but effective, leader. The rest of our Seniors have been a group that I'll never forget and always treasure our association and journey together. There is no doubt in my mind they will be successful in whatever endeavors they choose.

As much as I don't want to admit it, or give in to it, our journey is over. It's a team and a season I'll never forget and, once again, thanks to everyone who made it such an unbelieveable ride.

Sincerely,

Coach Holmes

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