The wrong photo ran with a story on Girls Coach of the Year Nancy Ferguson in last week's Harford County Sun. She is pictured above.
Fallston coach Nancy Ferguson has a way with freshmen.
On all three teams she coached this year, Ferguson brought freshmen into the starting lineup or off the bench with remarkable results.
The Harford County Sun's girls team Coach of the Year took the Cougars basketball squad, including four freshmen, all the way to the state title game for the first time in Fallston history. Two of those freshmen started, and by season's end, all played regularly. At times, Ferguson put all four on the court at once.
Last fall, she started with eight freshmen on the 5-6 soccer team. She put two ninth-graders on the lacrosse team that finished 14-1 and won the county and regional championships. But Ferguson said basketball season was the highlight of the year.
"Basketball is the hardest sport to coach, but I think it's exciting. It's like a chess match, the combinations you're putting out on the court. Everything happens so much quicker."
On the bigger fields of soccer and lacrosse, she said, the weaknesses are a little easier to hide.
"In basketball, you really can't hide anything," she said. "We really needed to have a good year out of the freshmen. They made a difference in that season not only because they were good but because the upperclassmen had to look over their shoulders. That made everybody work harder."
The Cougars finished 18-6, losing to Williamsport in the Class 1A championship. They won 13 of their last 14 games, including 11 in a row. Ferguson was named The Baltimore Sun's Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.
A native of Fort Washington, Pa., Ferguson played field hockey, basketball, tennis and lacrosse during her years in high school and at Elizabethtown College.
The math teacher spent three years at Havre de Grace Middle School before arriving at Fallston nine years ago. For seven years, she has been coach of the soccer and basketball teams. She took over girls lacrosse five years ago.
While most coaches specialize in one sport or limit themselves to two, Ferguson continues to coach year-round. She won't say which is her favorite sport.
"I just like the variance in each one. There's some overlap of the athletes, but I like working with the different groups of kids," said Ferguson, who credits local recreation councils for sending her athletes already skilled in the basics.
Ferguson's next challenge will be to keep those freshman from hitting sophomore slumps.