Peabody head coach Jane Heil has seen it all over her 30 plus years coaching the girls basketball team. She’s been through her share of hardships, but has always been able to bounce back — a true survivor
Last night’s milestone is only the feather in her cap along the journey of her successful career as Heil got her 500th victory on the road against Everett. With 17 Greater Boston League titles, 26 tournament appearances and one very significant state title (1985), Heil is the definition of legendary coach. As of right now, Heil’s coaching record is 500-162. That’s with four years off between 1995-’99 and the 2004 season, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Yet Heil still managed to be with her team for every practice and game while undergoing chemotherapy and later radiation.
By her side through it all, her husband Bob Heil, who’s been one of her assistant for the past 32 years.
“It’s an incredible milestone,” said Bob. “I remember when we first started and we went to one of the Mass Basketball Association banquets. There was a coach there from Western Mass. who got 600 wins and we thought ‘Wow will we ever get there’. It’s just such an event and I’m really so proud of her.”
Though she didn’t hit her milestone at home, Heil has spent many a night in Everett —an old GBL foe. DeAnn Larrabee, one of the Everett assistant coaches, was there to watch her former coach hit 500. Larrabee graduated in 2003 before going to Eastern Connecticut State University to play.
“It’s different to coach against her, but it’s such an honor to be here and be apart of it,” said Larrabee. “I’m really excited for her. She’s been coaching for such a long time and I just have so much respect for her. She always been enthusiastic about coaching.”