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PREP BASKETBALL After 30 years, Mooney's Nard steps down



Published: Mon, April 21, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



He has spent the last eight seasons coaching the Cardinals' girls team.

By BRIAN RICHESSON

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

YOUNGSTOWN -- Roy Nard is saying goodbye to coaching, but he'll always be willing to talk basketball, which has encompassed more than 30 years of his life.

The longtime Cardinal Mooney High coach met with his girls basketball team Thursday morning and told the players he was stepping down.

"It was probably one of the hardest things I had to do in coaching," said Nard, 54, an Austintown resident. "It was very emotional."

Nard, an Ursuline High (1966) and Youngstown State (1971) graduate, said he simply felt it was time to step away.

"The team is young and there's talent left there," Nard said. "The incoming coach will have time to put together a program for the next two or three years."

Staying put

Nard has been a coaching fixture at Mooney, starting with the boys freshman and junior varsity teams in the early 1970s.

Beginning in 1984, Nard was the boys varsity coach for eight seasons, and he spent the past eight seasons coaching the Cardinals' girls team.

"I've been very fortunate to have a lot of great players," Nard said.

There also has been a lot of great games. Nard will never forget his first boys victory against Warren JFK and the night the Cardinals snapped Rayen's 39-game winning streak, which came in the district championship in Salem.

Of course, in the 1988-89 season, he coached the school's only undefeated team, which was ranked second in Ohio and advanced to the regional tournament.

"In our undefeated season, we had three overtime games and a triple-overtime game," said Nard, who posted a 107-76 record with the boys program, winning two Steel Valley Conference titles and three district titles.

"But so many people remember the Rayen game because it ended the long streak."

After taking three years off from the boys program, Nard took over the girls program in 1995. A health and physical education teacher at Mooney, he thought it would be beneficial for the girls to have a coach working inside the school.

"I went in and coached them exactly the way I coached the boys," Nard said. "It was the same aggressive, physical practice."

Following Nard's instruction, the girls began to use flex bands and spend more time in the weight room, and they found themselves more competitive in games.

Flying high

Under Nard's direction, the Mooney girls team won five sectional titles, two district titles and compiled a 122-56 record.

However, an SVC championship eluded the Cardinals.

"That darn Boardman," said Nard, whose team went 13-7 last season. "If we didn't have to play them twice a year, we could have won a couple of league titles before Ursuline became strong in recent years."

In addition to remaining a teacher at Mooney, with his wife Diane, Nard will continue to be the school's athletic ticket manager. He also plans to run a summer camp, with the cooperation of the Cardinals' new coach.

So, will Nard ever be a head coach again?

"My wife is convinced that I will, and I wouldn't totally rule it out," he said. "But at this point, I'd say probably not."

richesson@vindy.com




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