WOONSOCKET — One year after going outside the Mount St. Charles ecosystem for a softball coach, the Mounties are turning to a familiar face to provide stability for a program that was in the Division II final as recently as 2017.
Henry Coleman, the school’s veteran boys basketball coach and assistant baseball coach, was tabbed last week as the softball program’s third head coach in the last three seasons.
“I’m looking forward to the transition,” Coleman said after a basketball victory last week. “I can say leaving the baseball team I went out on top, which is one of my dreams. I was able to see it through, which was an amazing experience. Now I see a new challenge on the horizon and I’m looking forward to it.
“There’s different personnel and different strategy to the sport as apposed to baseball, but there’s things that are similar about the two. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m excited to get rolling.”
Coleman succeeds Tom Shiel and Athletic Director Ray Leveille, who were interim coaches for the final third of the season after Drew Brissette was relieved of his duties midway through his first season in charge of the program. Even though the Mounties were the final team to make last spring's Division II playoffs, the cupboard isn’t bare for Coleman.
Senior lefty Marissa Tessier and righty Victoria Young bring valuable experience in the circle, while junior Callie Thibault recently committed to play Division I softball at Holy Cross.
“Henry brings a great energy and passion for any sport that he coaches,” Leveille said Friday afternoon. “His dedication and commitment is second to none. I have full faith that he can build the softball program into a perennial contender.”
Coleman will certainly bring a winning pedigree to a program that was one of the best in the state at the beginning of last decade. After assisting Shea baseball coach Dino Campopiano for a number of seasons, Coleman joined Paul Jacques’ coaching staff at Mount in 2017 and the two guided the Mounties to last season’s Division II title.
Jacques was disappointed to lose his first-base coach, pitching coach and scout, but he’s happy Coleman is in charge of turning around the softball program.
“He’s been a tremendous asset to us and it just means the rest of the coaching staff is going to have to work that much harder,” Jacques said Friday. “He did a lot for us when it came to pitchers and scouting. It’d be tough to find someone who did half the work he did for this program. For the softball team, he’s going to help with team chemistry and he’s also a very good motivator, which will help. He’ll make sure all the girls are on the same page.”
Even though Coleman has extensive high-school coaching experience, this will be his first varsity softball job. Coleman said he has spent “a number of years” coaching his daughters in the Uxbridge Softball Association. Coleman knows his big challenge is building team camaraderie and developing chemistry after a tumultuous season.
“I’m proud to be a part of the Mount athletics program and I’m looking forward to going down a different path and continuing the success that the program has been about,” Coleman said. “Team chemistry is going to be important. I’m looking forward to meeting the girls, finding out what they’re about – their strengths and weaknesses – and improving off of that.”
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