Bishop Fenwick High School has hired Michelle Zullo as its new varsity softball coach and Joel McKenna as the school’s new varsity girls lacrosse coach.

Zullo takes over for Paul Lyman, who served as head coach from 2002 until retiring last September. She knows about the Crusaders’ program and reputation for success first-hand, since the former Everett High pitching ace faced them in a game she’ll never forget.

“Fenwick won by a run in the seventh inning,” said Zullo. “It was in my senior year, and I was the losing pitcher. It was a tough defeat for us and for me, especially as both the pitcher and a batter in that last inning when we needed one run and couldn’t get it.

“I know Paul leaves some big shoes to fill. He was there for a long time and did a great job with the program. I’m excited to take over and can’t wait to get started.”

Lyman had an illustrious career with both Fenwick and previously in Wilmington for 13 years. He retired with 351 wins combined in his 30-year career, with two state titles for the Wildcats and a Division 1 North championship for the Crusaders in 2004.

One area Zullo intends to focus on is pitching. “It’s such an important position in softball,” said Zullo, a four-year hurler at Everett High (Class of 2011) who later did the same thing at UMass Boston. “I’ll work with the girls to help them develop skills that will make them better players. I know the league is very competitive, and am looking forward to the challenge.”

Zullo is a behavioral therapist working with autistic children. She has been the softball coach at Pope John for three seasons.

“When I get to know everybody a little better, I’ll be able to figure out the team’s strengths,” she added. “I want them to play smart and be competitive. We’ll prepare for anything that might happen.”

McKenna, who fell in love with lacrosse while at UMass Amherst, is glad to be back coaching the sport after taking the last three years off (following a 10-year stint in Tewksbury). 

Karen Guillemette started the Bishop Fenwick girls lax program and was highly successful for 10 years, but after she left there have been different coaches for each year. McKenna is the third coach in three years.

“Bishop Fenwick comes with a great reputation and a lot of success,” said McKenna, who is a middle school teacher in Saugus as well as the varsity wrestling coach at Wilmington High. “It’s a fantastic place to coach, and I couldn’t wait to jump at the opportunity. I know how successful the girls were under Karen and I want to build it up again.

“I intend to focus on coaching stability and make morale the best it can be. I want to create a family atmosphere.”

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