SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- From the moment she took over as head varsity softball coach, Colleen Spadora and Union Catholic have fit together like a hand and a glove.
"I felt right away that Union Catholic was the perfect place for me,'' said Spadora, who was named UC's head varsity softball coach this past fall. "I immediately felt like this was the right place for me. When I walked through the doors here, it felt like home. I love the family atmosphere and the facilities are great here. I'm just so excited to be coaching at Union Catholic.''
Spadora's path to Union Catholic took a few twists and turns.
Born and raised in Union, Spadora was a three-sport standout at Mt. St. Mary Academy in Watchung. She starred on the diamond as a pitcher and first baseman, played basketball, and was the goalie on the field hockey team.
After graduating from Mt. St. Mary in 2005, Spadora played softball at Kings College in Pa. for one year before transferring to Seton Hall University. She eventually wound up at Montclair State University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Science and Health and Physical Education. During her college years, Spadora also served as the head softball coach at St. Elizabeth Academy from 2007-2009.
After doing her student teaching in Hillside School District, Spadora worked in the corporate world from 2012-2018, and worked for Georgia Pacific in Atlanta from 2016-18. In 2018, she followed her passion for coaching and teaching and moved back to New Jersey.
Last year, Spadora became a health and physical education teacher at the Hillside Ave.School in Cranford, and got back into coaching, serving as the J.V. field hockey coach at Mt. St. Mary.
In addition to teaching in Cranford and now coaching at UC, Spadora also works at The Turf Strength and Fitness Club in Cranford as the head softball instructor, and she gives pitching lessons and offers her expertise at various softball clinics.
"I've always loved softball and have a passion for coaching, so after a couple of years working in Atlanta, I realized I needed to get back to doing what I loved the most,'' said Spadora. "I was looking for a place where I could build a program, and stay for a long time. Union Catholic has given me that opportunity, and I couldn't be more excited.''
To say that Spadora is pumped up about taking over the Vikings softball program is an understatement, and her goals are to create a culture that combines having fun and winning.
"We have a chance to do some special things here,'' said Spadora. "A goal of the program is to competitively play for the conference, county, and state title, build each player individually, build all the players into a strong team, include the JV and Varsity together into one program, so they aren't two separate entities, and to see girls go off to play in college.''
Spadora said after just a few practices, she was very impressed by what she saw.
"The girls have heart, they are dedicated, there is a lot of intensity, there's a ton of talent across the board on JV and Varsity, and we have a lot of good freshmen,'' said Spadora.
Spadora is grateful for all the support she has received from Athletic Director Dave Luciano and the UC community. .
"The support of Mr. Luciano and the UC staff has been unbelievable,'' said Spadora. "It adds to the excitement of the program.''
Mr. Luciano said Spadora's enthusiasm and passion for the sport jumped out at him right away.
"The thing that stuck out in my mind was Colleen's energy and excitement for the sport itself,'' said Mr. Luciano. "She has an extensive background, but still discusses ways to improve and further her knowledge of the sport. I think she will set a great example for our young athletes on how to work hard and give 100 percent every day they take the field. I'm personally excited for her because I can see how much she wants to succeed and I appreciate that.''