Great Bay basketball coaches Sokolnicki, Britton both step down

02/29/2016 by Mike Zhe

PORTSMOUTH — One and done. Great Bay Community College is in the market for a pair of basketball coaches after men’s coach Dave Sokolnicki and women’s coach Allyson Britton made the decision to step down from their posts following seasons that concluded earlier this month.

The decision by Britton, who works full-time at the college as assistant director of student life/athletic director, wasn’t a complete surprise, as she resigned to devote more time to administrative duties within the athletic department. But losing Sokolnicki, a former Division III college and local high school coach, was more unexpected. The Portsmouth resident told the school of his decision to step down last week.

“We were really bummed with his decision,” said Mike Fischer, Great Bay’s associate VP of student affairs, noting the decision “was completely Dave’s. We were hoping to have him back. He does everything the right way. I’ve never seen kids work harder in practice.” The Great Bay men completed their inaugural season as a program with a record of 4-19, losing 11 of their final 12 games, finishing ahead of just one team in the 10-team Yankee Small College Conference and failing to qualify for the conference tournament. Sokolnicki, whose previous coaching jobs included the men at Nichols (Mass.) College and the boys at St. Thomas Aquinas, said Monday that the on-court results had nothing to do with his decision, which was based on the heavy time commitment of the stipend position. He and his wife have two children, ages 7 and 5. “It’s a longer season (compared to high school), plus the recruiting aspect, going out on the road,” he said. “I was missing a lot of opportunities with my family. … When you don’t feel you have that balance (between work and family) it’s tough.” Fischer and Sokolnicki both said he will assist with the transition once a successor is named. The was the first year Great Bay has offered varsity sports. “There’s no regrets for me,” said Sokolnicki. “I love the school, love the people there. I took that job because I wanted to help them build something special over there. … I just know I’m not the guy going forward.”

Britton guided the Great Bay women to a 7-13 record in their inaugural season, one that was bisected by an injury to standout point guard Markey Flewelling in a win over Paul Smith College on Dec. 5. At the time, the Herons were 6-2; they went 1-11 the rest of the way with several one-sided losses, including to UMaine-Augusta in the conference tournament quarterfinals, 73-20. “If they don’t lose Markey, our women probably finish in the top quarter of the conference,” said Fischer. “We knew there were going to be bumps in the road trying to get the program going.” Like Sokolnicki, Britton said the won-lost record had nothing to do with her decision to step away. “Not one bit,” she said. “I had a blast. I was so inspired by the girls. “It was my first year as a coach, and I had to balance work and coaching and the inside administrative stuff Mike and I shared this year,” she added. “I had to make a decision so we could get someone new in here.”

Fischer said he’d like to have both positions filled by April 1. He said there have already been applicants for the job, but he’d prefer to hire coaches with knowledge of the local high school landscape for recruiting purposes, a key element of the jobs.

“We’re in a huge recruiting season,” he noted.

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