Gabby Baldasare takes over Pine-Richland girls basketball program

Sunday, June 5, 2022 | 11:01 AM

It’s been a couple weeks since Gabby Baldasare learned she was hired to take over the Pine-Richland girls basketball team, and she has the same emotions as when she first heard the news.

“I still feel like I’m floating on Cloud 9,” She said. “It’s still surreal. I heard about the opportunity and went for it. It was the direction I wanted to take my coaching career. I wanted to move up and become a head coach. Who wouldn’t want to coach a (Class) 6A team with a ton of talent coming up?”

That’s exactly what Baldasare will do this winter.

She’ll take over for Kyle DeGregorio, who resigned after last season. It’s the first high school head coaching gig for Baldasare, who spent the last two seasons as a varsity assistant and middle school head coach at Moon.

Needless to say, she’s happy to be a Ram.

“The interview process was intense,” Baldasare said. “They did their due diligence searching for candidates. The administration made me feel valued and comfortable during that process. Ultimately, my philosophies as a head coach line up with what they are looking for with the future of their program.”

The priorities for Baldasare start with building a culture within the program, and that goes beyond the varsity level. Her goal is to build a bridge all the way from the youth levels to high school.

“Culture is very important to me,” Baldasare said. “We want to get the culture on track for what our staff wants to achieve, which starts with a positive environment where they are growing as athletes and basketball players, but also as young women. It’s important for young females that age, where they are so impressionable, to have strong female role models in their lives. We just want to help these kids grow on and off the court.”

Baldasare was a standout at Vincentian Academy, where she was named the 2010-11 WPIAL Class A player of the year and was first-team all-state. She helped the Royals win the 2010 WPIAL championship. She went on to play four years at Niagara and started as a junior and a senior.

Coaching entered the equation after a phone call with former AAU teammate and current Moon coach Meghan Abbenante.

“She asked me if I wanted to coach the (Moon) middle school team and help out with high school,” Baldasare said. “I showed up the first day and had no idea what I was doing at all, but I knew pretty quickly that (coaching) was what I was meant to do all along. Beyond the X’s and O’s, just getting to spend time with kids and showing them that you care about them beyond what they do on the court has been very rewarding for me.”

Baldasare met with the team for the first time May 31. She was ready to hit the ground running.

“We’re aiming for cohesiveness throughout the entire program from youth to middle school to high school,” Baldasare said. “We want to bring everyone together as one group. Everyone is going to have the same defensive principles and similar offensive concepts. We’re going to have as many youth camps and youth nights as we can, because that’s the future of the program. The best thing is for everyone to be involved. I’m so excited to meet and get to know these girls.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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