SUMMIT, NJ - The Summit High School Boys Varsity Basketball Team will have its fourth head coach in four seasons when they take the court in the Winter of 2014. Jim Davidson, who accepted the role of Head Coach during a sometimes tumultuous search process prior to the 2013-14 season, has decided not to continue in the role.
Davidson Steps Down as Varsity Basketball Coach, Three Other Teams Have Vacancies
"I value the opportunity that I was given, we had a great year and I enjoyed it, but I think it is in the best interests of everyone to find a new face for the program," Davidson said.
Davidson's impact was seismic, winning 20 games and taking the Hilltoppers to the State Final for the just the third time in 40 years. Just as important, working in tandem with his assistant coaches, he installed offensive and defensive systems that are integrated from the Varsity program through the Freshman team.
Davidson's departure is one of several coaching changes taking place at the school. Girls Varsity Basketball Team Head Coach Brian Erickson has left to accept the position of Associate Head Women's Basketball Coach at Kean University. Erickson's Lady Hilltoppers team enjoyed a turnaround year, winning 18 games versus just seven in 2012-13.
Girls Varsity Soccer Team Head Coach Mike Poller has departed to become an assistant coach for Seton Hall University's women's soccer team. The team finished the 2013 campaign a disappointing 6-12-2. The appointment of Gary Healey, currently the Head Girls Soccer Coach at David Brearley High School and a teacher at Columbia Middle School in Berkeley Heights, as Summit Girls Varsity Head Coach is listed on the Board of Education's April 10 workshop agenda.
John Liberato, who is largely credited with building the Summit Varsity Football program into power that has now gone two seasons undefeated and won back-to-back State Titles, will no longer be the Freshman Head Coach. Liberato has accepted the position of Offensive Line Coach at Kean University. Jim McGeechan is listed on the District's web site as the Freshman Coach.
Liberato, who was the Varsity Head Coach through 2012 including the first State Championship, stepped down in the Spring of 2013 and was replaced by current Head Coach Kevin Kostibos, who refers to Liberato as a mentor and a "second father figure."
"We are losing four excellent coaches," said Summit High School Director of Athletics Bob Lockhart. "Three are being rewarded with college coaching opportunities, which is both a testament to -- and reward for -- their abilities and contributions to our program." Of Davidson, Lockhart said, "Jim did a great job with our basketball program. Our team played with tremendous discipline both offensively and defensively."
Lockhart said he will review both internal and external candidates for the basketball openings, starting the process in early May, with a goal to have individuals selected to fill the roles by mid-May.