Holland College women's basketball coach retires

Holland College women's basketball coach retires

The head coach of the Holland College women's basketball team is retiring after leading the squad for six years.

Mike Connolly took the head coaching job for the 2011-12 season and brought the team to new heights during his tenure. 

"It's been an honour and a privilege to be a coach at Holland College," he said.

"It's been a wonderful experience for me, a very supportive group. The athletic department has been amazing and certainly senior administration at the college has been wonderful."

Program firsts

During his time with the Hurricanes, Connolly helped the women's basketball program to several first-time achievements. 

In 2012-13 the team finished with a winning record for the first time in school history, the next year they won 19 games, which remains the highest in school history.

The 2014-15 season saw Holland College crowned Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA) champions for the first time, and a third-place finish at the National Championships.

That season Connolly was named ACAA coach of the year.

'Amazing team'

The 2015-16 season held what Connolly described as his best moment at Holland College. 

After a first-place finish during the regular season, the Hurricanes won the ACAA and made it to the finals of the National Championship.

It was as close as the school has ever come to being the top team in the country. 

"Not many times you're up two points and shooting free throws with eight seconds left and lose the game but we managed to do that," he said.

"That team was an amazing team. We had a great run and we came so very close to a National Championship."

'A great run'

The Hurricanes won their third consecutive ACAA title this year, and made their fourth straight appearance at the National Championships.

Connolly retires with a regular season record of 87-30 in his six years as head coach.

"It's been a great run for me and I really appreciate all the support I've received," he said.

"I'll miss the kids for sure, they certainly have kept me young over the years. I've fostered some great relationships with some fabulous young women and young men over the years. That piece I'll miss the most maybe."

On the horizon

Connolly said he plans to take some time off in the coming months.

"I'm going to relax and work on my golf game, spend time with my beautiful six grandchildren and then we'll figure out things in the fall."

Connolly attributed the program's success to the support he and the team received from the athletics department and senior administration of the college.

"There's a reason that Holland College is so well recognized in athletics and in general in the community and it's a result of people making a full commitment," he said.

"It's been a wonderful pleasure and a real treat for me to be a coach at Holland College."  

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