SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Board of Education voted 5-2 on Feb. 17 in favor of appointing Megan Boyle Winters as the new Head Coach of the South Plainfield Middle School Softball Team. Boyle Winters, who has served as an assistant coach for freshman and junior varsity softball at South Plainfield High School since 2012, is also a teacher at Grant Elementary School.
“So much about the middle school team is learning and continuing to build the fundamentals that these girls will take with them to the high school level,” Boyle Winters said, adding, “I want them to have the same love of the sport I do. I love it so much that I am still playing.”
Boyle Winters said her love for softball began as a child. “I watched my dad play in a league and we’d also watch the Yankees play. I loved Derek Jeter. His finesse, his love for the game, his leadership,” she said. “Then, once I started playing, I began to really love the competitive nature of the sport.”
Boyle Winters first took to the field in third grade as a member of the South Plainfield Ponytail Association. From the age of 11 to 16, she spent her summers playing for the All Stars and, in 2003, was a member of South Plainfield Middle School’s first softball team. During her sophomore, junior and senior years at South Plainfield High School, Boyle Winters was a member of the girl’s varsity softball team and, in 2007, served as team captain. Additionally, she was named to the All County Team in 2007, played for the Readington Rebels Summer All-Star Team in 2006 and, in 2008 as a member of the New Jersey Elite, played in the ASA National Tournament in Alabama.
A 2007 graduate of South Plainfield High School, Boyle Winters was recruited to play softball for Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. In 2009, she transferred to Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) and served as an outfielder and catcher as well as captain of the Fairleigh Dickinson Devils while working toward her bachelor’s degree in education and master’s in the art of teaching. In 2012, she was hired by the South Plainfield School District and currently teaches fifth grade social studies and language arts at Grant. She remains active in sports, serving as an outfielder with Top Gun Fastpitch Softball, an all-star summer team for players 23 and older, and as a member of the South Plainfield Women's ‘ROMA’ Traveling Soccer Team.
To be considered for the middle school softball coaching position, Boyle Winters was interviewed by Ronald Spring, acting principal of South Plainfield High School; Al Czech, athletic director of South Plainfield High School; and Donald Panzarella, head coach at South Plainfield High School. Her appointment then required board approval.
At the Feb. 18 meeting South Plainfield Board of Education members Kim Anesh, Steven Bohn, John Farinella, Chere Glover and Sharon Miller voted in favor of Boyle Winter’s appointment; members Carol Byrne and Doug Chapman voted no; Board Vice President Bill Sesssellberg abstained; and Boyle Winters’ mother, current South Plainfield Board President Debbie Boyle, recused herself.
“My name is Megan Boyle. Not ‘the board president’s daughter,’” Boyle Winters said in response to negative comments from members of the board opposed to her appointment as head coach. “My credentials and who I am as an educator and as a coach are what allowed me to get the job.”
As head coach, Boyle Winters said her goal is to do more than just teach the girls how to hit, field or catch a ball. “I am big believer in hard work and leadership and want the girls to understand what it means to have a work ethic. I truly believe that how you carry yourself on the field reflects the type of person and athlete you are,” she said, adding that she is also looking forward to having the opportunity to work alongside her former coach.
“Not only did I grew up playing for Coach Panz but now I get to coach alongside him. He loves softball and I have seen firsthand what a great coach he is. I hope he can continue to guide me and that I can one day be half as good as he is,” Boyle Winters said.
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