The Post-Journal

Coach of the Year

Before the 1991 softball season started, Cassadaga Valley Central School softball coach Paul Cooley was hoping for third place in Division 2.

With just two seniors on the squad, that prognostication, he felt, seemed fair enough.

Boy, was he pleasantly surprised.

All the Lady Cougars did was win 21 of 23 games, claim the Division 2, Section 6 and Western Regional titles and a semi-final berth in the state Class C tournament. And even though they lost 11-8 in the semis, the lady Cougars became the first Chautauqua County softball team to advance to the states.

For those reasons, Cooley has been selected as The Post-Journal’s Coach of the Year.

“This is something I thought would never happen to me,” Cooley said after the lady Cougars’ 7-5 victory over Sydney in the Western Regionals. “It’s just a great rewarding thing to have happen. I just can’t put it into words.”

Cooley downplayed his role in his team’s success all season, but the coach, who has taught at Cassadaga Valley for 31 years, did a fine job in preparing a team whose only seniors were Barb Dalrymple and Jerri Carlson.

“I’ve never had a group of girls work so hard,” he said. “They beg to practice. Their motto is: ‘We are family.’ They support each other and are a really good mixture, which makes it fun to coach. Then you win and that helps out.”

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We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.