By Gianna Addario
---- — Dot Stanley was jumping up and down when she received the news from Ipswich athletic director Tom Gallagher that she would be the next varsity girls basketball coach at the high school this winter.
With just under 60 days to the start of the season, Stanley described her new position as “going home.” Stanley, who graduated from Ipswich, in 1981 was an All-Scholastic player in both basketball and softball. She was team MVP in both sports and earned CAL All-League honors, while her basketball teams won two state championships in 1980 and ‘81. Stanley, who now lives in Marblehead, will inducted into the Ipswich Hall of Fame next month in the annual ceremony.
“It’s such an honor,” explained Stanley. “A good friend of mine let me know that the position was open. I couldn’t believe it. The minute I went to the school, Tom and (principal) David Dalton welcomed me with open arms. They were so caring and supportive, which is key for building the program. “
After Mandy Carter-Zegarowski stepped down in early May, Gallagher began his search for a replacement once the school year ended.
“We started receiving applications in the summer, but we formalized the process once we got back to school,” said Gallagher. “Dot had lots of enthusiasm and her connection to Ipswich is obliviously a big part of it. The Ipswich program has a storied tradition and its great to have her come back here and be part of that again.”
Stanley is looking forward to taking over the program, as a lot has changed since she walked the halls of the old high school.
“It’s so amazing to be back working on the North Shore, after working in Boston for 20 years,” Stanley noted. “It blows me a way that I’ll get to coach where I played.”
Last year Ipswich made another exceptional run in the Division 3 bracket, but couldn’t get past perennial powerhouse Pentucket in the North semifinals. The Tigers (19-4) earned their seventh Cape Ann League Small title in 10 seasons and Stanley is looking to keep the tradition going.
“My philosophy is team effort,” added Stanley. “It’s about understanding all of the athlete personalities. Nobody will be sitting around at practice and everyone will have a chance to play. When they put on that uniform, they represent Ipswich High and sportsmanship. It’s not about winning or losing, which is important, but it’s more important for the girls to play and learn.”
Stanley highlighted her basketball coaches in high school, Dr. Ann “Kiki” Papagiotas and Micki McVann for all that they did for her.
“I can’t explain how much I’ve learned from them,” said Stanley. “I was a transfer student from Malden my junior year and they changed my life. I probably would’ve never went to college. Those two women were amazing to me.
“That’s why I want to give 110 percent to the girls, their parents and the community.”