Schenectady County

Girls’ basketball coaching carousel turns throughout Schenectady County with new faces at Mohonasen, Mekeel Christian and Scotia-Glenville

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The girls’ basketball coaching landscape in Schenectady County has shifted, with familiar names set to roam the sidelines at new places.

Three area schools have confirmed new coaches for the 2021-22 season, all of whom have a connection to area girls’ basketball. Curt Bailey, a Captial Region Basketball Hall of Fame member for his tenures at Tamarac High School and the College of Saint Rose, is the new head coach at Mohonasen; Doug Holden, who coached Mohonasen for the last six seasons, is now the head coach at Mekeel Christian Academy; and Macie Howard — herself a former Mekeel Christian standout — will be coaching just down the street from her alma mater at Scotia-Glenville.

Bailey is among the winningest coaches in Section II girls’ basketball history. He won 325 games and four area championships in four separate stints at Tamarac dating back to the mid-1970s. At Saint Rose, Bailey coached the women’s basketball team from 1989 to 2001, taking a program that was playing at the NAIA level at the time of his arrival to an NCAA Division II power that won 279 games during his 12-season tenure and spent most of the 1999-2000 season as the nation’s top-ranked team.

The veteran coach, who most recently coached at Hoosic Valley following the end of his final stint at Tamarac, said he’s excited for the opportunity that coaching at Mohonasen provides.

“Mohonasen’s in a rebuilding process,” Bailey said, “but I know there are enough athletes in that school, that if we can get them to come out and play basketball, we can lift that program up to be competitive. That kind of excited me, the idea of starting again and building.”

Mohonasen athletic director David Bertram said the school opted to move on from Holden’s tenure in order to “head in a different direction.” That a coach with Bailey’s resume then put his name in for consideration was something of a happy accident.

“Curt fell in our lap,” Bertram said. “We’re real fortunate he came forward for the position. His enthusiasm and his knowledge of the game is going to be beneficial for our girls and the program.”

With his time at Mohonasen complete, Holden takes over a Mekeel Christian Academy team that reached the Section II Class B championship game when area basketball championships were last contested in 2020.

That team was coached by Kelsey Collins, who has transitioned to coach Mekeel Christian’s junior varsity boys’ basketball team, in addition to his duties as the school’s athletic director.

Holden and Collins have a relationship going back to Collins working at Holden’s summer basketball camp, and Holden said he was contacted by Collins about the Mekeel Christian job “about 12 hours” after Holden was informed he wouldn’t be back at Mohonasen.

Holden is eager to build toward success with what should be a young Mekeel Christian team.

“We have to stick to the process, that old saying,” Holden said. “Our goal is to be successful. We have to build a program. We have a lot of young kids that are very interested. It’s such a great foundation over there.”

Just a stone’s throw down Sacandaga Road, Howard is embracing the excitement of her first varsity coaching job.

The Amsterdam native, born Macie Holmes, was a standout guard at Mekeel Christian Academy, graduating in 2015. She went on to play four years of basketball at Russell Sage College in Albany, starting every game in her last three seasons and averaging 6.9 points per game during her career.

Howard had some familiarity with the Scotia-Glenville program through her older sister, who served as an assistant under Megan Bowman, who coached the Tartans from 2016-19 before becoming the women’s basketball coach at SUNY Cobleskill.

After a meeting with Scotia-Glenville athletic director Jamian Rockill, Howard knew she had found an ideal spot.

“It almost fell in my lap,” Howard said. “It’s like a calling where I can’t say no. I can’t pass it up. This has been my dream to coach at a higher level, and just to help the girls out, because I was in their shoes once and I know how much of an impact a coach has. I’m so excited to do this.”

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

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