At Centennial, Ahearn warming up baseball

New coach is laying groundwork for season


High Schools

January 08, 2003|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

Despite the snow on the ground, at least one county coach is already passionately thinking about the spring baseball season.

He's the new Centennial Eagles baseball coach, Denis Ahearn, who has had a couple of meetings with prospective ballplayers.

Ahearn, 26, a native of Westchester County, N.Y., has an impressive baseball background, is married to a former Mount Hebron lacrosse player and considers himself lucky just to be alive, much less able to coach.

He replaces Dave Appleby, who resigned because of a time conflict with his responsibilities as guidance counselor at Elkridge Elementary School.

Ahearn caught for and captained a Mamaroneck high school team that was ranked 18th and 21st nationally.

After heart surgery at age 17, Ahearn did not play college baseball.

Ahearn said that his high school coach, Mike Chiapparelli, was tough but fair, worked hard for his players and inspired him to coach. Ahearn was the JV coach for two seasons at Mamaroneck after graduating from the State University of New York-Albany in three years.

After he returned to Mamaroneck, he met and married Kierney Clark, a former Mount Hebron lacrosse player who was an All-American at Hofstra.

The couple, and their 8-month-old daughter, moved to Maryland after a serious automobile accident in October 1999. Their SUV was hit head-on by another SUV driven by a teenager who had gotten his license just two weeks earlier.

Kierney suffered a serious head injury from which she has recovered, and Denis broke both ankles and has a permanent plate in the right one.

"We moved to Maryland to be near her family, and it was a great move for both of us," Ahearn said. "Her family was extremely supportive."

He teaches sociology and Far Eastern studies at Centennial, while Kierney is a full-time mother to their two daughters when not coaching lacrosse with former Mount Hebron coach P.J. Kesmodel at Seton Keough.

"Centennial has great students, and I'm very happy there," Ahearn said. "I have a great enthusiasm and passion for the game of baseball, and I plan on pushing them to work hard. We have some great returning players, and some great players coming up [from JV]."

Fan ejected

A parent of a Long Reach girls basketball player was ejected in the fourth quarter of Saturday's girls basketball game at Hammond. Long Reach won the game, 58-46.

The game officials stopped the contest and told both coaches that the woman needed to be removed before the game could continue. She was removed from the gymnasium by security.

The county posts rules of conduct at the door of each gymnasium. Spectators who break any of the rules can be ejected and possibly barred from future events.

Fans are not allowed to intimidate officials, players or coaches, use profanity, throw objects, enter the playing court or loiter.

Don Disney, coordinator of athletics, said that anywhere from a dozen to 18 persons a year are barred from events for such infractions.

"I attended several events on Saturday, and the behavior of fans was nuts," Disney said. "We seem to have our worst incidents on Saturday afternoons."

Long Reach athletic Chuck Struher declined to comment on the incident.

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