LINCOLNDALE, N.Y. — After four seasons, Kristi Dini will no longer be on the sidelines as coach of the Somers varsity girls basketball team. Dini coached the Tuskers to their most successful campaign in program history last season after finishing 19-3.
“I’m devastated,” Dini said. “But this is not about me. We worked hard to build a team and family here, and to leave that is really difficult.”
The two-time League 1-D Coach of the Year turned the program around, compiling a 53-26 record. Dini, a former star player at Putnam Valley, also guided Somers to two league titles.
Dini believes that she was greatly supported by her players and parents, but not enough by the administration.
“No coach could ever ask for more support from the parents and kids than I had,” Dini said. “I can’t say the same about the administration in retrospect due to the fact that I was blindsided after my second coach of the year and second league championship in three years on top of the best season in Somers history.”
The decision came forth from Superintendent Dr. Raymond Blanch. Blanch declined to comment, citing it as a personnel issue, per district Communications Director Matt Carr. Somers Athletic Director Roman Catalino did not return multiple phone calls.
“I wish I could give you an answer, but I sit here today and really don’t know,” Dini said. “Normally if there was an issue, your A.D. would surface the issues and give you an opportunity to address the issue. No one ever indicated that there were any issues, especially after this season. There was nothing but positive feedback.”
While at Boston University, Dini set the career, single season and America East conference record for 3-pointers made. She is also the President and Founder of the New York Extreme Hoops AAU program.
“I’m still in shock,” Dini said. “The outpouring from the community, high school, college coaches, parents and players has been overwhelming. It makes me feel great, but at the same time I can’t help but to think that there were nefarious forces working against me that I did not realize."
Dini will continue to coach the Hudson Valley team for the Basketball Coaches Association of New York tournament.
“The future of Somers basketball is really bright," Dini said. "I’m sad that after the program that I put time in and built has girls and younger girls in my AAU program that I won’t get the chance to continue to watch succeed.”
Dini still keeps pride in all of her former teams and players at Somers.
“I am extremely proud of what we accomplished at Somers,” Dini said. “I was lucky to have a great group of girls and parents who bought into the commitment and dedication necessary to become a winner. These girls were great representatives of Somers on and off the court, and accomplished some amazing things the last few years.”
The Boston University graduate would like to coach somewhere else, but is still soaking in what exactly happened to her tenure in Somers.
“I planned on being at Somers for a long time,” Dini said. “I’m still processing it all, but I hope that my success and reputation will provide opportunities to continue to nurture and coach young ladies in the future.”
Dini will never forget the players that she mentored while at Somers.
“Somers is a great community,” Dini said. “I will miss it, but I know that I will stay in touch with this special group and treasure our memories.”