Just before the doors were locked to signal the end of another school year, an important announcement was made at Cardinal Mooney High School regarding its girls basketball program.
Former Mooney varsity assistant coach Erica Wilson has been tabbed to take control of the girls team starting with the 2014 / 2015 campaign.
Wilson was on the Cardinals' staff last season after spending the previous three as head coach at Niles. She has a total of 12 years of coaching experience and was a standout in her own sneakers at both Niles and Mount Union College.
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The fact that Wilson was already on the Mooney staff and shares the same morals instilled by the leaders of this institution made the decision to move her to the top spot an easy one.
''Erica brings not only experience to our staff but also familiarity with our expectations and goals,'' said Mooney principal John Young in a press release. ''She has taught physical education at St. Christine's School and demonstrated the values represented by our school system. We are proud to add her to our athletic staff.''
Wilson is well aware of the values of the Youngstown Diocese. She has been on the staff at St. Christine for a dozen years and was raised spiritually, scholastically and athletically in this diocese. She is overjoyed to be able to remain in the catholic school system.
''I am extremely honored to be named head coach of the Cardinal Mooney girls basketball team,'' wrote Wilson in an email. ''I feel welcomed in the Mooney family and can't wait to continue my coaching journey right here. It's a tremendous honor.''
Wilson's coaching journey has taken her to three different states. One of those places was New York, where her team had to battle not only the opposition but also a shot clock. It was that experience against Father Time that helped mold Wilson's way of strategizing for a game.
''Using a shot clock shaped my coaching style as a full court, pressure defense and run and gun offense,'' the coach said. ''But you still have to adjust your style to the girls you have.''
The girls currently on the Lady Cardinals roster are coming off a so-so season that saw them bow out in the first round of the state tournament to South Range.
Coach Wilson looked far beyond the talent level of this team, however, when she explained her willingness to spend the entire school year with them.
''There are an amazing group of girls here at Mooney,'' said Wilson. ''That's why I decided to go back to head coaching for them. They make me love what I do, and I enjoy walking into every practice with a smile.''
Thankfully for the new Mooney mentor, her players were not the only ones who put a smile on her face.
''I was in good company as an assistant,'' Wilson noted. ''We all worked very well together and I feel right at home.''
Its said that home is where the heart is. For Erica Wilson, she is the heart and soul of this upstart Mooney girls varsity basketball program. To her, that's akin to having Christmas 365 days a year.
''I know I am where I'm meant to be,'' Wilson said. ''I pride myself in reminding (her girls) of the little girl that fell in love with the game. That's the gift they give to me every day.''