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Catholic searching for new girls coach

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Catholic is accepting resumes for the position of head girls basketball coach.

After one season, Paul Sutherland is out as the coach of the Fighting Irish. The former Winfield coach guided Catholic to a 9-16 record this past season, but advanced to the region co-finals, one win away from the state tournament.

It was a tough season for the Irish, who lost two starters to knee injuries before the season started and another during the season. In addition, Sutherland and his staff sat out several games as Catholic Principal Debra Sullivan reviewed possible Secondary School Activities Commission violations. After Sullivan turned in her findings to the SSAC, Sutherland was put on probation.

"He brought energy to the program but sometimes the match just isn't quite right,'' said Sullivan when reached by phone Tuesday night.

"I have nothing critical to say. I've been at the school a long time, you know what's working and what's not working. We came to an agreement. He stepped in and that's not always easy. I admired his determination and enthusiasm.''

Sutherland compiled a 159-43 record in eight seasons at Winfield, guiding the Generals to two Class AA state titles. A full-time real estate agent, Sutherland was bumped from his position at Winfield during the summer of 2008 when a teacher, Tim Toler, applied and was granted the job.

"At Catholic I'm like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole,'' Sutherland said. "It's a different kind of person. It's kind of different there. In a way I'm disappointed and in a way I'm not. There's no wars, no explanations.

"I was trying to see if we could work it out. I don't fit in there. I think the parents and kids are kind of disappointed and surprised. They have a chance to be really good if they work hard. Kids who had never played before made progress. It was a tough year for everybody.''

Sutherland replaced Ashley Shepler at Catholic. Shepler guided the Fighting Irish to the Class A state tournament in all eight seasons during her tenure, finishing runner-up twice and winning the state championship in 2007. Shepler's career record is 150-57, a .725 winning percentage, which is the all-time best for the program.

Sutherland said he has already fielded calls of interest.

"I'm going to have to have the right fit,'' he said. "Get that family feeling.''

Catholic will be accepting resumes from Thursday through April 9. Resumes may be e-mailed to athletic director Bill Gillispie at cchsathletics@yahoo.com or mailed to Charleston Catholic, Attn. Bill Gillispie, 1033 Virginia Street East, Charleston WV 25301.

"We're looking for someone who understands and supports the Charleston Catholic philosophy, which is more than just any sport,'' Sullivan said. "It's the whole package.''

"We'd like to have something in place because the summer's coming up and the three-week practice period,'' said Gillispie.

Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkinson@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.

 


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