WESTPORT, Conn. Ashley DelVecchio and Erin Shaw enforce the law in their jobs as Westport police officers. This winter, the young women kept order on the court as well as the co-coaches for a seventh-grade girls basketball team sponsored by the Westport Police Athletic League.
Westport finished its season Saturday by beating Fairfield for the title, 34-31. Westport finished 14-10, under the first-time program coaches.
I think it was a great experience, Shaw said. Were both very different personalities. It took us a while to work out a system that worked.
Shaw had previous basketball coaching experience at a college in Virginia. DelVecchio was coaching the sport for the first time, but she brought experience from field hockey, where she was the freshman coach for the Staples High School team. Fairfield resident DelVecchio was a field hockey and lacrosse standout at Fairfield Warde before playing field hockey at Eastern Connecticut State University.
Evan Seideman, whose daughter Rachel is on the team , said the coaches had a good rapport with the girls. They not only did a nice job on the court, but they provided nice role models for the girls, Seideman said. The team seemed to get it together at the end. The coaches got their voice together, and the girls responded.
The coaches faced several challenges from the outset. For starters, the team had several new players. It also played in one of the leagues most formidable divisions. The coaches also were forced to juggle coaching responsibilities, because each missed some practices and games because of work commitments.
The other officers on the force were great about it, said DelVecchio, who joined the ranks in 2010. They knew it was important to us, and we traded shifts so we could coach. We couldnt have done it without the support of the police force.
Seideman said the parents enjoyed having the young officers handle the coaching assignment.
It was the first time in the program that women officers had done it, but they demonstrated a responsible and strong presence to the girls, Seideman said. A lot of families were very happy to have them.
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