Tuesday, December 12, 2000

Wyoming's Gentile could hit 400 tonight

Followed Wilson's advice, success

By Dave Schutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Achieving 300 or more victories as a high school coach is a rarity. Reaching the 400 plateau is rarer still.

        Wyoming girls basketball coach Deb Gentile should achieve the 400 mark tonight at Deer Park High School, joining an elite group that includes Mary Jo Huismann (Mercy) and Richard Kiser (Eastern Brown).

[photo] Deb Gentile instructs Dana Berkemeyer during practice Monday.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
        Accepting and following the advice from one of the best — former Madeira coach Nadine Wilson — has been paramount in Gentile's success during the past 20 years at Wyoming.

        “She taught me to always love the team, because they are an extension of the family,” Gentile said. “If you show respect for them, they will always give it back to you.”

        During a career at Wyoming that began in 1979, Gentile's teams have won 20 or more games 10 times and won 14 league, nine district, one regional and one state championship (1995-96).

        “Nadine was a disciplinarian. That has a lot to do with our success,” Gentile said. “The girls know coming in what I expect. I've lost some decent athletes because of this but that's alright.”

        Gentile, whose record is 399-97, refuses to take all of the credit, pointing to assistant coaches Dave Finholt, Julie Metzner and Jean Dowell as playing important roles in the success.

        “Another key are the youth programs in Wyoming,” Gentile said. “These kids play from the first grade. When they get here, they want to be a Cowboy and play for the team.” A 1970 graduate of Western Hills, Gentile earned 21 varsity letters in basketball, volleyball, field hockey, swimming, gymnastics, track and field and tennis.

        “You have to remember that the seasons were much shorter back then,” Gentile said. “That's why I was able to participate in so many sports.”

        Gentile went on to attend the University of Cincinnati where she played field hockey, volleyball, basketball and tennis.

        Gentile began coaching volleyball at Colerain in 1977. She took over Wyoming's basketball program in 1979.

        Understanding that Cincinnati players were behind the rest of the state, Gentile and Mercy coach Mary Jo Huismann were instrumental in starting Cincinnati's first AAU summer program.

        If coaching wasn't enough, Gentile also officiated at the college and high school level for 27 seasons, retiring two years ago.

        Honors have been as abundant as victories for Gentile. She is a member of the Buddy LaRosa, Cincinnati, Western Hills and Communiplex Halls of Fame.

        Some of the major college players Gentile has coached include Molly McGrath (Purdue), Tracy Krueger (Marshall), Holly Porter (Boston College), Bari Porter (Yale) and Megan McCabe (Ohio State).


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