By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
Dave Kosa is excited about seeing what the Princeton High School girls’ basketball program can become.
Kosa, a math teacher at Princeton High, spent five seasons as the Little Tigers’ boys’ basketball coach before stopping in 2007. Since then he has been an assistant girls’ basketball coach at St. Rose in Belmar, as well as the head girls’ basketball coach at Haddonfield and Piscataway.
Now he will again be coaching at Princeton, but this time he will be leading the girls’ program.
“(Coaching at St. Rose) was a great experience being in the Shore Conference and playing St. John Vianney and Red Bank Catholic and the other top competition,” said Kosa, whose team started tryouts on Monday and will open the season on Dec. 15 at Lawrence. “Those are teams in the top 10 in the state. I spent one year there and then five years at Haddonfield. We had a nice run down there. We won the Group 2 sectional and faced Shabazz in the state semifinals when they were No. 1 at the time. We hung with them.
“I coached at Piscataway the last three years. They are in the GMC, which is where I started coaching when I was with Monroe. We had some success at Piscataway. We won two division titles and a county title. It has been a really nice run for me as far as being at different schools and being at schools where we have had some success.”
All the time he was coaching at other programs, Kosa was teaching at Princeton. His son, Trevor, is a senior at the high school and his daughter, Annie, is an eighth grader at John Witherspoon Middle School.
Now, instead of the long drives to and from practice each day, Kosa just needs to go from the classroom to the gym for practice.
“The frequent flyer miles will be stopping,” joked Kosa, who has spent the last three years as the JV girls’ soccer coach at PHS and last year was an assistant softball coach. “I feel like I know a lot of the girls from school from the other sports like soccer and softball. I tried and get to some volleyball games. They had a tremendous season. I like to go to the different sporting events to support Princeton High athletics.”
Kosa hopes to bring some stability to a girls’ basketball program that will be welcoming its fourth new head coach in six years.
“It’s nice to be back and see what we can do with the girls’ program,” Kosa said. “One of my goals is to provide the stability and build the program from the feeder system up. When I was with the boys program we had camps and clinics in the summer and that is the plan with the girls. I’m excited about the potential to see where we can go.”
Kosa knows the players in his program were coming into the season ready to work. And all involved would like to see the program become a successful one.
“The girls from last year have been working hard on strength and conditioning,” said Kosa, who will be assisted by Clarence White and Tanya Hemingway. “They played in a fall league and in the summer when I was named coach we were in the Allentown Summer League and had some success there. One thing I pointed to was there is nothing on the girls’ basketball banner in the gym. That is something we are shooting for right off the bat and strive to achieve.”
Kosa knows the progress isn’t going to come overnight. But he and his players are ready to dig and do their best to make it happen.
“We want to increase the numbers year by year and that starts from the elementary schools on up,” Kosa said. “We’re going to be doing camps and clinics and doing the work down there that can only pay off down the road. Each place I have been we have had that or built that. When I was first at Monroe it was a fledgling program and we started to build numbers. We had steady growth at Haddonfield and had some successful seasons and phenomenal players.
“I think it helps that I teach here and my kids are in school here and can have this be a home base and establish stability. I helps knowing the girls outside of basketball and seeing them in hall and cafeteria.”
By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor