Ex-Millis Star Breen Now Girls Hoop Coach At BMR

KEN HAMWEY, Staff Sports Writer
Molly Breen’s basketball journey has had some twists and turns and a detour here and there. But, she should be a fantastic varsity coach. And, at BMR she seems to be at the right place at the right time.
Issue Date: 
March, 2019
Article Body: 

When school officials at Blackstone-Millville Regional hired Molly Breen to be the Chargers’ girls’ varsity basketball coach, they obviously liked the credentials and the background of the 27-year-old Millis native.
Who wouldn’t?
Breen was a three-sport athlete at Millis High and played on two State championship teams in 2009 — one in basketball and the other in soccer. She finished her basketball career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,360 points and was selected as the Tri Valley League’s MVP her senior year. Breen also competed in track, running the 800 and the mile and throwing the javelin. She placed sixth in the state meet in the 800-meter run.
Breen, who averaged 17 points and 9 rebounds as a senior at Millis, enrolled at George Washington University but didn’t play basketball. For 1½ years, she was an unhappy student. “I was at a very large university, class sizes were huge, and it was impersonal,’’ she said. “It’s a good school, but it just wasn’t a good fit for me.’’
So, she transferred to William Smith College, a Division 3 school in Geneva, N.Y., and began playing basketball again. Rusty at first, her skills gradually resurfaced and she competed for three seasons, averaging 5 points and 5 rebounds in an off-and-on starting role as a 5-foot-11 power forward. A Dean’s List student, Breen helped the Herons qualify for tourney play as a junior and was a key contributor in helping the squad compile a 20-7 record in her senior season.
Her coaching roles before taking BMR’s varsity reins include two years as Millis’ freshman girls’ soccer coach and two more with the jayvees. She’s been a top-notch asset for the Mohawks at the sub-varsity level, especially since they’ve won the last two State soccer championships in Division 4. Breen also was a varsity basketball assistant for three seasons at Millis.
Last year, Breen was the Chargers’ assistant varsity basketball coach for Chris McNamara, who stepped down after guiding BMR to a 12-6 record and a tourney berth.
“Looking to the future, my goals are to get back to the tourney and go as deep as possible,’’ said Breen, who’s in her second year as a science teacher at BMR. “And, I’d like to see us finish among the top three teams in the Dual Valley Conference.’’
A tourney berth and a high rank in the DVC may take some time, even though the Chargers have some strengths going forward. At Local Town Pages deadline, the Chargers had a 3-14 record
“We lack numbers,’’ Breen said. “We have only eight girls on the varsity with three others swinging between the jayvees and the varsity. Our team chemistry is good, and we have some experienced players with a high basketball IQ. But, we lack depth, and we aren’t tall, nevertheless our goals are realistic, because our players work hard and battle intensely.’’
When assembling a roster, Breen looks for four key attributes — a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, a coachable nature and mental toughness. “If a player has these qualities, then skills can be taught,’’ she said. “Being positive and coachable leads to strong team chemistry.’’
Breen’s long-term goals at BMR are “to build a strong program and a top-notch reputation by increasing turnout.’’ She’s acutely aware that a full roster will propel the Chargers to succeed in the future. “We’ve got good numbers on our middle-school team, and Catherine Novio, who played college ball at the University of Maine, works very well at the jayvee level,’’ Breen said.
BMR’s young coach is delighted to succeed McNamara, and she’s thankful for the opportunity to direct a varsity team at age 27. “I knew the position was going to open and I’m so pleased and excited to have been selected,’’ Breen emphasized. “With Chris stepping down to spend more time seeing his daughter Taylor play, the timing was excellent.’’
Breen will continue to help her girls develop into quality players and well-rounded student athletes. She’s all about influencing and empowering today’s youth.
“My philosophy of coaching is to challenge players to improve,’’ Breen said. “I want to see them play to their strengths, gain confidence and become good leaders. At Millis, we were a small school, so to succeed we had to outwork our opponents. I hope our girls will learn some great life lessons, like overcoming adversity, time management, accountability and leadership.’’
Breen has not forgotten her Millis roots and she’s quick to credit her former Mohawk coaches for her success in transitioning to a mentoring role. She recalls the positives when she played for current Millis coach Dave Fallon and assistant coach Paul Geary.
“Dave is phenomenal,’’ she said. “A great teacher, I model my practices from his blueprint.”