Kristen McDonnell officially takes over as Norwood boys hoop coach – Boston Herald

NORWOOD – Kristen McDonnell got in front of her team and quickly got the attention of her players.

The gathered group of teenagers listened intently to everything she had to say, as McDonnell laid out exactly what she wanted to see from them over the duration of tryouts.

It wasn’t an unfamiliar position for the veteran coach with the winter season officially beginning Monday, but McDonnell’s audience was noticeably different.

After 10 years at the helm of the Braintree girls basketball team, McDonnell is starting a new venture where few females have journeyed as she takes over as the head coach of the Norwood boys basketball team.

“I miss starting up with the girls, but I’ve gotten to know these kids really well,” said McDonnell, who took the Norwood job in June. “That excitement has built and now it’s just so good to finally get started after what seemed like the longest offseason of my life.”

McDonnell enjoyed a wildly successful decade at Braintree, where she compiled a 211-32 record to go along with seven South sectional titles and four state championships.

That resume isn’t lost on her new players. They also already have a built-in connection with McDonnell, who serves as Norwood High’s head guidance counselor. Being able to work and coach at the same school played a factor into McDonnell leaving Braintree.

“Everyone loves her. Around the school, everyone knows her,” said senior captain Jaden Ryan. “Around basketball she’s known as one of the best coaches in the state in women’s, and I think she can bring that over to the men.”

McDonnell doesn’t plan on changing her coaching philosophy as she inherits a team that finished with a 6-14 mark last season. The faster tempo of the boys game is one of the adjustments McDonnell said she’ll have to make.

But McDonnell is eager to take on a new challenge and even though she doesn’t consider herself a trailblazer, McDonnell’s ready to show that basketball is still basketball regardless of gender.

“Anytime you start something new, you have to prove yourself all over again, especially jumping from the boys game to the girls game,” McDonnell said. “I think there’s a lot of eyes on us. I don’t really care about those people to be honest that are looking at me. I just want to see us focus on the process, hopefully get some wins in that process and have a good time while we do it.”



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