The Lynn Classical softball program’s 21-win season has earned its leader one of the state’s most esteemed awards: Boston Globe Coach of the Year.
Chris Warren, Classical softball coach for the past 12 seasons, received the Globe’s top honor in the newspaper’s All-Scholastic edition Sunday. Classical won the Northeastern Conference Large title with a 16-0 record and was the No. 2 seed in the Division 1 North sectional of the State Tournament.
Warren, who is also interim vice principal at Classical, said the 2011 season may top the list in a successful tenure that has produced 10 tournament berths in 12 years.
“With this season being dedicated in memory of my mother [Judy Bertrand] and Mr. [Rob] Garrity and to go undefeated and 21-3 overall, I think it’s a season that I will never forget,” said Warren. “I’ve had very memorable seasons in my career, but this one does rank up there with the top of them. I’m very honored that the Globe staff recognized our efforts at Lynn Classical and I was very excited when [Classical athletic director] Bill Devin told me that I had been selected for this award.”
Warren has built one of the best individual sport programs in the city. Several of his players, including graduates Afton Dean, Ashley Laramie, Paula McGinn, Erin Ford, Heather Kerrins, have gone on to play at the next level. Shortstop Hannah Byrne is heading to St. Anselm.
“I think we do a lot of good things in our program – between our trip to Cape Cod for the past the six years, our two Disney trips – we try to give our kids the best things we can, whether it be uniforms, equipment, team dinners. We do a lot of team things outside of softball, that maybe word gets out and it attracts kids to our program.”
Warren also received the NEC Coach of the Year Award for the fourth time in his career. He feels the NEC, which knocked off the No. 1 seeds in Division 2 and Division 3 in the State Tournament, tests his team well during the regular season.
“We lost to a very good Acton-Boxboro team that made the Eastern Mass. finals and lost to the state champion King Philip team,” said Warren. “It’s not like we lost to a slouch.”
Despite losing one of the program’s best players ever in shortstop Hannah Byrne, Warren’s team is shaping up as a state title contender in 2012. It has two ace pitchers, Mackenzie Coppinger and Katie Cuozzo, standout catcher Chelsey Bartlett, solid outfielder Danielle Moran, superb infielders Jennie Erekson (third base) and Samantha Earp (second base), and other capable players returning to the fold.
“Our program is going in the right direction,” said Warren, who thanked his wife, Leah, for her support. “Our JV team only lost one game. We’re doing a lot of good things. We’re excited with what we have coming back.”