Montrose grad leading Golden Bears
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
A 1996 graduate of Montrose Area High School is taking her passion for basketball and applying it to coaching for Western New England College’s women’s basketball program.
Chaszar, 32, of Northampton, Mass., is in her 10th year of college coaching and sixth with the Golden Bears, and so far this season has led the team to an 11-8 overall record.
Prior to her starting at WNEC, Chaszar was a standout player for Temple University, and served as captain of the Owl team in her junior and senior years before graduating in 2000.
Chaszar was also named MVP of the Owl team in her senior year.
From there, Chaszar went on to coach as an assistant at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and at the University of Rhode Island.
While at the U. of Rhode Island, she helped lead the team to an NCAA Division III Championship.
Craving a head coaching job, Chaszar saw an opening at WNEC and applied in 2005.
Since being at WNEC, Chaszar said she has enjoyed her role as head coach.
“I love who I get to recruit and seeing my players go through four years of school,” Chaszar said. “For me, coaching is not just about basketball, I try to teach the girls about life.”
After attending Temple, and getting a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Health Teaching, Chaszar went on to get her Master’s Degree while coaching at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in Physical Education and Athletic Administration.
“Being a coach full time is something I was striving for,” Chaszar said. “And I feel fortunate to be able to do it.”
Chaszar said that her transition from player to coach is one that wasn’t as easy as she thought it would be.
“I had to learn that nothing is in your control out there,” Chaszar said. “That was one of the hardest things for me to learn.’
However, Chaszar’s philosophy is to take control of the things that she can.
“I am demanding and strict, but I have a great relationship will all of my players off the court,” Chaszar said. “I think any one of them would attest to that.”
Chaszar said she demands everything of them while they are playing basketball for her.
And her goal is to have the team firing on all cylinders at all times.
“The ideal outcome for me as a coach is to have them competing all the time,” Chaszar said. “And to have their heads in the game. Because if your mind’s not in it, that’s when problems begin.”
Chaszar said that the WNEC team is very defense-minded.
“I am one of those coaches that believes that defense is very important and that if you have a good defense everything else will fall in place,” Chaszar. “I like for other teams to think of us as a team that will make them work for every point.”
While Chaszar said that WNEC team is hitting some roadblocks this year, being just 3-5 in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference, she hopes to improve and make a run at playoffs.
“For the rest of the season I would like for us to be more consistent,” Chaszar said. “That’s something we’ve definitely struggled with.”
Chaszar said she wants the team to work more as a cohesive unit.
“I want the team to realize that it’s not about one individual athlete, it’s about the team,” Chaszar said. “And that it doesn’t matter if you score 20 points, or five points. It’s about the complete, overall effort.”
As far as what the future holds for Chaszar, she isn’t sure. But what she does know is that in the 10 years she’s been doing it, she’s loved every minute of it.
“As long as I keep loving coaching I’ll keep doing it,” Chaszar said. “To this day I still get nervous before every game. Once the nerves are gone, the passion is gone, and I’ll know it’s time to stop.”