Replacing a legend is never easy - but Nick Theos is going to give it a shot. Theos has officially been hired on as the next girls basketball head coach at Londonderry High, taking over for the legendary John Fagula. Fagula announced he was retiring from coaching prior to last season. Then he went out on top, guiding the Lancers to the state title with an upset win in the finals over previously unbeaten Bedford. Fagula ended his illustrious 32 year career with 624 wins and 12 championships (between Nashua High and Londonderry).
"Nick has been there long enough, he's paid his dues" Fagula told the NH Notebook. "He's been coaching here 14-15 years, he was here even before I was. Plus he works right at the school and he is a Londonderry alumni."
Theos served as Fagula's varsity assistant and JV coach the whole time Fagula was at Londonderry. He has been Fagula's right hand man on the varsity, and Theos' JV teams have consistently been among the top JV squads in Division I. Theos has already taken the reins of the program, as he is running a basketball camp for the youth girls of Londonderry this week.
Although Theos has very big shoes to fill, he steps into a favorable situation with Londonderry returning as much talent as any team in the state. They will certainly miss point guard Aliza Simpson, the Gatorade Player of the Year who will continue her career at UNH. But returning you have all-state forward Casey Evans as well as guards Jackie Luckhardt and Kelsey Coffey - all 3 were regular starters for a Lancers state title team. Forwards Brittany Roche who hit clutch shots in both the semis and title game, Ashley Berube and Tara Burke all return and along with Evans will look to form a dominant interior game. Incoming senior Noelle Lambert was also a valuable contributor in their title run. That's a lot of returning talent, especially when you consider all of the other D-I schools who are losing key players to prep school.
"Don't forget about Jenna Conroy" Coach Fagula pointed out. "She missed last year with the knee injury, but she played lacrosse for them this spring and has been playing with the team in summer league. She's a good shooter."
According to Fagula, there were two candidates at the end - Theos and Scott Hazelton. Surely, Hazelton was a tough candidate to pass up, given his tremendous playing and coaching track record. But Londonderry went with Theos, and they are hoping for a smooth transition to him from Fagula.
"We had the varsity and JV practice together and I think that will help" explained Fagula. "We would run drills, and Nick would take the guards on one of the the court and I would take the post players. The kids got accustomed to him being in charge just as much as me. Every year I allowed him to do a little more in practice."