Girls’ basketball: Where his Hart belongs

first_imgDave Munroe will remember moments like tonight. After 33 years pacing the sidelines in high school gyms across the Southland, the Hart High of Newhall girls’ basketball coach will remember how the faces of young athletes light up on the basketball court. It’s what Munroe will take with him in the coming months to suburban Denver, where the fiery 57-year-old will retire after becoming one of the most accomplished prep coaches in area history. “It’s something I’m going to miss dearly,” says Munroe, 57, who also teaches driver’s education and health at Hart. “Teaching is my life, and I look at the basketball court as an extension of the classroom. “I’ve been coaching for years, though, and at this stage it’s time for me to try other things in my life.” In his 18 seasons as girls’ basketball coach, Munroe’s record is 383-112. He has gone 86-5 in the Foothill League, winning 15 of 18 league titles. He was named the California Interscholastic Federation coach of the year in 2003, and his team added its second Southern Section title last season. The Indians (27-2) face Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach in the Southern Section Div. I-A semifinals at 7:30 tonight at West Ranch High in Stevenson Ranch. “Dave has had a fantastic tenure at Hart as a coach, but his time here has meant much more than that,” Hart football coach and athletic director Mike Herrington said. “His door has always been open to the girls. He has helped them quite a bit, and he has also kicked them in the butt.” Munroe developed a particularly close bond with former standout Taylor Lilley, who transferred from Saugus High to Hart as a sophomore following the sudden death of her father. Under Munroe’s tutelage, Lilley became one of the top 3-point shooters in area history while leading the Indians to the Southern Section title last year. “I have so much to thank Dave for,” said Lilley, now a freshman at Oregon. “He has helped me become the player and the person that I am today, and I really mean that. I always felt that he was willing to do anything for me and the rest of the girls on the team.” Lilley is one of many athletes Munroe has sent to NCAA Division I colleges. The list includes three-time Daily News Player of the Year Ashlee Trebilcock, who recently worked her way into the starting lineup as a sophomore at No. 5-ranked Ohio State. Trebilcock entered Hart as something of a basketball prodigy, having been considered a prize prospect as early as in middle school. Munroe’s passionate coaching style immediately appealed to the shooting guard, and they combined to win four consecutive Foothill League titles from 2002-05. “I always got the same treatment from Dave as everyone else,” Trebilcock said. “He was never afraid to get in my face and yell at me. But I listened to everything he had to say because I respected him. “Dave has better coaching skills than a lot of people coaching at the college level.” Munroe has been offered college coaching jobs at L.A. Valley College and Pasadena City City College. But he prefers the stability at the high school level, where his wife, Jan, has been the team scorekeeper for more than a decade. Munroe’s daughter, Jenny, was a nationally ranked tennis player at Hart, earning herself a college scholarship to the University of Colorado. “In high school, the players come to you,” Munroe said. “College is a whole separate animal. It definitely interested me at one time, but I’ve always been happy at Hart. I have taken a lot of pride in this program.” Valencia coach Jerry Mike considers himself an admirer of Munroe after spending the past eight years fighting to compete with the powerhouse Indians in the Foothill League. Mike admits being disappointed – partially, at least – to see his rival leave. “The selfish part of me will be glad to see him go because he’s such a talented coach,” Mike laughed. “But in reality, it’s saddening because his passion for the game and his attention to detail is something that has improved the level of play out here dramatically.” Munroe has ruled out the idea of being a head coach elsewhere – although the seed already seems to be planted. His daughter is a middle-school teacher in Colorado, and she has already asked if him to help coach the girls’ basketball team there. Munroe accepted, yet he insists his head-coaching days will end when this season ends. In the meantime, Munroe will finish out the playoffs at Hart. He could be around to coach at least one more game, should Hart qualify for next week’s CIF state tournament. Although Munroe would love to make a run at another title, he stopped defining success by wins and losses years ago. “I’ll be going out on top no matter what,” Munroe said. “I’ll always look back at my experience here as a complete success.” [email protected] (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img The wins have made it fun, he admits. So have the championship runs. But Munroe’s job became more than that many years ago, when he realized the type of impact a good coach could make on somebody’s life. It has made all of those long bus rides worth it. last_img read more