Driscoll to Step Down as Head Coach
St. Johnsbury Academy Athletic Director John Lenzini announced this week that Varsity Girls’ Basketball Coach Jack Driscoll will be stepping down. Since his SJA coaching career began in 1988, Jack Driscoll earned the Vermont Basketball Coaches Association (VBCA) and Metro Coach of the Year three times, while winning Division I titles in 2010, 2018, and 2019.
Lenzini said, “Jack’s departure is a challenging one. He has influenced the lives of so many young people over the years, that it is difficult to imagine his not doing so in this and future years. Jack is the consummate professional as a coach—at times, his veneer is stern, and his high expectations are delivered with toughness, but his compassion and care for student-athletes accompanies every last player interaction and coaching moment he is part of. Jack used basketball to teach character, grit, dedication to, and responsibility in being part of something bigger than one’s self.”
Assistant Headmaster for Campus Life Beth Choiniere, who has coached alongside Jack since 1997 and currently serves as the JV girls’ basketball coach and assistant varsity coach echoed Lenzini’s comments about Driscoll’s development of his players. “Jack simply holds a deep and abiding optimism regarding young people. He likes to scratch at the potential of his players and help them achieve more than they believed was possible. They have achieved a lot over his tenure. While we have enjoyed the trips to Patrick Gymnasium and the championship celebrations, his mark on the lives of his players and fellow coaches will be felt more powerfully and will be more long-lasting due to the kind of people he encouraged and helped them to be.”
Coach Driscoll began his career coaching boys’ basketball under Layne Higgs, first as the freshman coach and later as the boys’ JV coach. He took over as the girls’ varsity coach for the 1994-95 season. Coach Higgs said, “Jack had an earnest and consistent coaching presentation with no frills, mixed messages, or self-promotion. He modeled the attitude and behavior he hoped to foster in his players, and as a result, his program became known for its team-first approach and consistent work ethic. Jack’s coaching emphasis/philosophy was reflected in the execution of the team’s signature person-person defense. Throughout the years, Jack stayed true to his principles and gained the respect of the St. Johnsbury Academy community and coaches statewide.”
As the head coach of the varsity girls’ program, Coach Driscoll earned his 300th varsity win this past season, in which the team finished with a 13-8 record. In four of the coach’s 26 seasons, the team finished with twenty or more wins, including matching 22-2 campaigns in their latest championship years, 2017-2018 and 2019-2020. Three players also surpassed 1,000 points in their career; Patricia Lang (2001), Sadie Stetson (2019), and Josie Choiniere (2020).
Lenzini continues, “Over the years, I have observed that Jack’s athletes are fiercely loyal to his basketball teachings and approach, and to him as a person. He gets the absolute most out of his teams, having produced some of the most tenacious defensive squads in the state year in and out.”
Choiniere adds that, “Jack has taught us all how to compete: the importance of high expectations, thoughtful preparation, and the will to never, ever give up, regardless of the circumstance. It has brought him and his teams sustained success at the highest levels of Vermont basketball. And he has done all of this with humility, sportsmanship, and grace: the epitome of class. For the 20 years that I have traveled and coached with Jack, I have listened to the constant praise that Jack has received from other coaches and fans from around the state; many stopping us as we have left their respective gyms, sharing with him time and time again, how much they love to watch his teams play—how much they admire their discipline, tenacity, and sportsmanship. Perhaps the most amazing part is that you would never know it, as Jack has never looked for any praise or glory in any of the work that he has done.”
An announcement concerning the hiring of a new head coach will be made later this week.