New girls basketball coaches prepare for season

Maya Dexter, Staff Writer

Tallmadge Girls Basketball has added some new personnel to their team this year. Assistant coach Bill Brundson is now going to be the JV coach. New head coach Joe Leonard and assistant JV and varsity coach Sam Zawahri have also been hired. The coaches are hoping to add a female to the staff as well, but as of Oct. 6, they had not found anyone officially to fill that position.

Leonard brings ten years of experience; this being his 11th year coaching. He had five years at Padua Franciscan High School, three years at Holy Name High School, and was at Strongsville last year. He also played at Holy Name High School. 

I came to Tallmadge because I have always been impressed by the strong community feeling and support. I have family that lives in Tallmadge, and they really enjoy it. When I was going through the interviewing process it just felt right and felt like where I belong,” Leonard said.

Leonard plans to get to know the girls and for them to get to know him and his coaching style. He is going to input a new offense and defense. 

“This is certainly going to be a year of learning, but the kids have been great and we are coming together,” Leonard said. He hopes to continue to improve in ball handling and shooting but is very happy with the commitment that the girls have shown so far in the program. He is excited to see how the season plays out. 

Brunsdon has had seven years of experience in coaching basketball. 

I started out coaching my son’s Tallmadge youth team. [I have also] coached his AAU teams. [I] took a position at Woodridge for the boys middle school teams. Last year, I took a position as the Varsity assistant for the [Tallmadge] high school girls team,” Brunsdon said. 

Brunsdon said he came to Tallmadge as a coach because he is from Tallmadge and wanted to coach in his community. He also has a daughter that plays basketball and wants to coach in the city she plays in. 

Brunsdon said that he thinks the strengths of the program are that the girls are willing to put in the work and get better this year. 

“With the off season workouts, girls showing up for open gyms when permitted, it is just a positive atmosphere. We had Zoom calls in the beginning of summer and a majority of the girls said their weakness was confidence and ball handling,” Brunsdon said. 

Brunsdon’s goal this year is to work with the players on their confidence and work on ball handling drills and shooting drills all season. Brunsdon feels the new coaching staff is great. 

Brunsdon said, “We mesh and have a great understanding of what the ultimate goal will be this year. All the coaches are approachable, and the girls have really seemed to buy into the program this year.”