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May 17, 2022

Middletown South Coach Tom Brennan Ends Career

By Les Pierce

Middletown High School South girls’ basketball Head Coach Tom Brennan announced he is stepping down from his leadership position.

The Middletown High School South sports community is losing an icon. Girls’ basketball Head Coach Tom Brennan has decided to step down, ending a 26-year stint at the helm.

He ends his endeavors on the hardwood with a career record of 448-208. The highlight of Brennan’s tenure was a Group III State Championship and Tournament of Champions Title in 2015.  

He also led the Eagles to four State Sectional Championships (2014, 2015, 2016, 2019) and nine Shore Conference A-North Division crowns. Under his guidance, seven players reached the 1,000-point milestone: Heather Litzebauer, Danielle Pankey, Meghan McGuinness, Stepahnie Karcz, Alexandra Balsamo, Isla Brennan and Kayla Richardson.  

In his final season, he posted a 19-8 record and took the squad to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 championship final. He was ultimately named the A-North Division Coach of the Year.  

Two of Brennan’s daughters, Isla and Lara, played for their dad. Isla helped her father win state sectional titles in 2016 and 2019. Lara was a freshman on the 2019 squad and a senior this season.   

The veteran coach initially assumed the position at the urging of a student who was going into her senior year. Brennan agreed to the idea but with the covenant that he would only do it for one year. Somehow that limitation was ultimately waived.  

His introduction to varsity basketball occurred on the same Middletown South court that he oversaw for so long. He played for the Eagles during the 1983 to 1986 seasons, with his senior career under Head Coach Mark Kelly.  

“There is a standard in how we do things here at South regarding preparation by our players in how they train, but also by our staff in how they prepare those players,” stated Brennan.  “That requires a monumental amount of video studying of opponents – literally hundreds of hours over the course of a season, especially playoff time. I am finding it increasingly difficult to stay up until 1 or 2 am breaking down film and being able to function as a normal human being. In the end, if I can’t do it the way I am used to, I feel like I’m letting the kids down, and then it’s time to turn it over to someone else. So I don’t know what my future holds with this great sport. I don’t want to completely walk away, but I also recognize that I can’t do it the way it needs to be done in that first seat on the bench.”