A pair of new faces will be leading Reading High School sports teams during the 2013-14 season. Though technically each is already a familiar face.
Jim Debenedictis will take over the perennial state title contending Rocket girls basketball team, while this spring David Blanchard will hit the diamond as the new coach of the Reading baseball team.
In addition to being a teacher at the high school, Debenedictis also served as the junior varsity coach in the basketball program from 1998-2004 and was on the sidelines as the varsity assistant coach from 1998-2013.
Carolyn Crampton will move from freshman to JV head coach this year, and Michelle Hopkinson, also the varsity volleyball coach, will serve as freshman coach as a part of the shuffle.
Blanchard is also a member of the Reading High School faculty, and was the junior varsity baseball coach at the school from 1999-2005. Following his tenure in that position, Blanchard took over as head coach of the Winchester High School varsity team.
“It’s a privilege and honor to return to the Reading baseball program after eight years,” said Blanchard, who has been a teacher at RMHS since 1999. “I expect the transition to be a smooth one because of my familiarity with RMHS and its athletic department … I know the school, its students, many alumni and have a sense for the community. I also have the benefit of eight years as a head coach in the Middlesex League. I believe that the combination of factors will provide for a smooth transition.”
Debenedictis takes over for Kim Penney, who helped turn the program from an also-ran to a state powerhouse. The team fell just short of a second straight state championship last season.
The incoming girls basketball coach said his familiarity with the program will lead to a smooth transition on the hardwood.
“I am excited and invested in this challenge,” said Debenedictis. “Again, they know me. I am excited and invested in this challenge. They know what I am about. They know how hard I will work for them and how much I care about them as players but also as people. I am not (Penney), but I share many of her values and beliefs in what is important in high school athletics and in competition.”