This spring, Science Teacher Paige Kemezis will take over as Girls’ Varsity Softball (GVS) Head Coach, replacing Athletics Associate Kathy Newell, who has coached the team for the past 33 years and decided to coach just the Middle School this year.
Ms. Kemezis began playing softball when she was in seventh grade and continued playing through her college years at Ohio University, where she and her team won the Mid-American Conference East Championship in 2011. Ms. Kemezis then coached at Noble and Greenough School and Tabor Academy before joining BB&N’s faculty this past fall.
While GVS finished the season with a winning record last spring, Ms. Kemezis said she hopes to help the team improve their standing in the ISL and play better in the Big East Tournament.
“During practices and games, I like to keep the atmosphere light and fun,” she said. “It [won’t be] uncommon to see the girls competing in mini games during practice and trying to accomplish certain things like hitting opposite-field during innings to earn some prize, like ice cream.”
GVS Co-Captain Halley Douglas ’19 said she was glad Ms. Kemezis intends to keep “candy innings” alive.
“If it’s a candy inning, everyone who gets on base gets a bag of candy of their choice from [the coach] the next week at practice,” Halley said. “One of the first things Coach Kemezis talked about was carrying on this tradition—and possibly doing other things, besides candy.”
She added that she appreciated Coach Kemezis as “an incredible person” with “incredible love for the game,” two things that she said make a great coach.
English Teacher Beth McNamara, who serves as assistant coach for GVS alongside Science Teacher Melissa Courtemanche, said she had seen Ms. Kemezis’ skill as a coach in previous seasons.
“Her teams were clearly carefully coached but also had fun playing, and I enjoyed chatting with her before each game,” she said.
Interim Athletic Director Chuck Richard, who named Ms. Kemezis the new head coach over the summer, said her teaching background also made her a great choice.
“It’s always our preference to have full-time teachers coach our teams if we can find the right fit,” he said. “She played at a high level in college and understands the game at a high level. Her knowledge of the game really stood out.”
Ms. Kemezis said she likes the balance of teaching and coaching.
“Since I was going into the education field, I hoped that coaching would also be part of my future,” she said. “I like that I am able to share my non-academic passions with students, as well as my ‘science-y’ side in the classroom.”
She added that she is looking forward to the spring.
“Coach Kathy Newell, Beth McNamara, and Melissa Courtemanche have laid the groundwork over previous seasons,” she said. “I have some big shoes to fill, but I am looking forward to the task. I am so excited for the season to start.”
Ms. Newell said she considers the team family and will miss working with them, but she will continue to follow their successes.
“Stepping down was a hard decision,” she said. “They have a ton of ability and put a lot of heart into being a competitive team. I know the team will grow and learn even more with Ms. Kemezis as their new head coach.”