An unfortunate circumstance led Ed Kolnaski, the new Waterford High School girls' basketball coach, to realize he missed running a program.
Kolnaski took over the program last winter when head coach Rob Von Achen fell ill. It was the first time Kolnaski was responsible for running a team in 30 years, when he coached the Ledyard girls' basketball team for one season.
"It kind of brought back memories," Kolnaski said. "I have to run every practice, go to every game to scout, get everything ready for practice. It kind of felt good again."
Kolnaski was officially named head coach Monday to replace Von Achen, who retired earlier this month.
"We are extremely happy to be hiring Ed, who has been coaching in the girls' program the last three years," athletic director Dave Sousa said. "He is a very knowledgeable coach that is expected to bring our solid program to another level."
Kolnaski, while raising a family, coached AAU basketball and was an assistant for Wayne Clark, his brother-in-law, when Clark led the Fitch boys' basketball coach. Kolnaski got involved with the Waterford girls' program six years ago at the request of his niece, Jenny Peluso, then the junior varsity coach.
"She said, 'Can you help me out?,'" Kolnaski said. "Then she got pregnant (three years ago). … Dave Sousa walked in (to practice) with a smile on his face and said, 'you have to take over the job. (Peluso) has got the flu.' He had a funny smile on his face, and I looked at him and said, 'Oh, my gosh - is this for a good reason because I'll do it.'
"He said, 'yes it is.' That led to be being the JV coach."
- Ned Griffen