THOMASTON – One of the greatest coaching eras in Thomaston High School history and in state circles has come to a close.
Long-time Golden Bears girls basketball coach Bob McMahon announced his resignation Thursday after 19 seasons. McMahon notified school officials and his assistant coaches earlier in the week and met with team members Thursday afternoon to inform them of his decision.
While a surprise to some, McMahon‘s decision wasn’t totally unexpected. He has expressed a desire to watch his two sons, Michael and Sean and daughter Molly as they progress in their high school careers.
Michael is entering his junior year and is on the basketball team at Bristol Central. Sean will be a freshman at St. Paul and Molly will be a freshman at Bristol Central.
“I owe it to my own three children and lovely wife Sue to be in the stands for their games as much as possible,” said McMahon. “I have already missed some of Mike’s games and want to be there. I have three kids in three different programs. Parents need to be there for them. “
McMahon’s players past and present were emotional and appreciative.
It’s the end of an era. It makes we want to cry,” said Sciarra Brandt one of the leaders of McMahon’s 2010 BL championship team who now lives in Orlando, Fla.
“It’s unreal, he’s one of the best coaches in the state,” said recent graduate Emma Sanson, a star on this year’s state championship team. “He’s really going to be missed. He had such an impact on us as coach.”
“He had such an influence on us,” said senior Kylie Decker. “Whoever picks up the torch will be ready to lead and the girls will be ready to step up.”
During his 19-year tenure McMahon, 51, guided the Golden Bears to unprecedented heights and into a state power and state prominence, producing a stunning resume made even more impressive by the school’s status as the third smallest public school in the state with about 240 students depending on the year.
McMahon produced a record of 307-121 that included three Class S state titles, the latest coming in March with a win over Coventry in the finals at Mohegan Sun, six state championship game appearances (five in a row 2013-17), nine Berkshire League titles and eight BL Tournament titles.
Three times the Bears finished ranked in the top-10 in the state and eight times McMahon’s teams won 20 or more games. Thomaston is currently the defending Class S state champions and two-time defending BL champions.
McMahon also coached the baseball team for 10 seasons winning a state title in 2008, making two state title appearances and winning two BL titles. His overall record at Thomaston is 450-194 (70 percent).
Thomaston High Co -Athletic Director A.J. Bunel had nothing but praise for McMahon’s contribution to the program.
“His name is synonymous with Thomaston girls basketball and he has made it a focal point on a state level,” said Bunel who was at the school with co-Athletic Director Alex Sconziano as McMahon addressed his team. “His attention to detail is second to none. He is a master of his craft. Bobby has established a tradition of how they play and carry themselves on and off the court. You’ll have to touch base with me later about the size of the void.”
While the resignation may have come as a surprise to many, McMahon said the decision to resign has been coming soon than later in recent times.
“The end was always closer than people think,” he noted. “The family always found ways to push it off another year or two.”
Despite a treasure trove of big moments and fine times, McMahon pointed to his team’s penchant for putting it all together as his fondest memory.
“The moment you knew it clicked with individual players was always special,” said McMahon. “That grows exponentially when it clicks with all of them. That happened to the point where our practices were really good. Some state tournament games had nothing on our practices. “
McMahon also reveled in the consistent presence of alumni players at practices helping the Bears prepare of games.
Bunel said the position would be posted but that McMahon’s departure was too fresh at this point to know who is interested in the job both within the Thomaston system or from outside the system considering the status of the program.