STRATFORD—The first time Kelsey Gilmore found herself in one of the town’s gymnasium, she wasn’t ready to be a varsity basketball coach.
This time around, she’s more than ready.
Gilmore, a New Hampshire native who most recently was an assistant varsity coach and JV coach at Shelton High School, has been named the new head coach at Stratford, according to athletic director Tony DeAngelo.
“She’s a young coach is will bring a lot of enthusiasm to our program,” DeAngelo said. “She really wants to help develop our girls in the program and she’s somebody who wants to work to develop the youth programs. I’m really hoping to see the number of kids participating increase over these next few years.”
Gilmore replaces Laure Discenza, who coached the Red Devils for just one season, leading the team to the state tournament. Discenza left to return to her alma mater, Lauralton Hall, was its new varsity coach.
Gilmore always knew she wanted to be a coach.
“I’ve always wanted to coach,” Gilmore said. “My dad was a coach, so I’ve always been around that type of environment. I just think coaching and being a leader is in my blood so when I first moved to Connecticut for my career, that was part of the plan.”
In addition to coaching at Bunnell and Shelton, Gilmore has always coached at the AAU level, where Stratford rising senior Abby Anka once played for her.
Gilmore looks at the town as a place that could be very special basketball-wise.
“There are a lot of good athletes in Stratford and I think they just need a little bit of consistency to help make them contenders in the SWC,” Gilmore said. “I think it’s a program that’s really looking for that consistency.”
Gilmore, who will be Stratford’s third coach in the last three seasons, knows it won’t be an easy transition for the players who have to learn a new system again.
But she wants the Red Devils to know she’s in this for the long haul moving forward.
“Part of me has a concern that I’m the third voice, the third change they’ve had to deal with,” Gilmore said. “But they’re yearning for consistency. That was one of the reasons why Stratford made sense. They are good families and good students and they deserve that.”
She also wants to sell Stratford High as a whole to keep the town’s best players in town.
“I think there’s a lot of to be excited about when it comes to Stratford High,” she said. “That’s why I was interested in the new job with the new school, the new gym. Athletics is in a good place and I’m hoping to help that grow.”
Gilmore—a Springfield College grad who went to grad school at East Stroudsburg State—works in as an exercise physiologist in the cardiac unit at St. Vincent’s Hospital.
She is currently coaching AAU basketball with CT Premier, which is based out of Fairfield County.