Romine comes home to lead the Girls’ Varsity Basketball team as they seek another state title

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Photo: Lily Condron

Girls’ Basketball Head Coach Lacy Romine talks to players on the first day of tryouts.

If Fairmont’s new Varsity Girls’ Basketball coach is feeling the pressure of taking over a State Championship team, she’s not letting it show. And she’s also not shy about saying that this year’s team can win another state title.

Lacy Romine, 25, inherited the program from Tim Cogan, who resigned last year to become the boys’ basketball coach at Carroll High School. However, Romine isn’t exactly in unfamiliar territory at Fairmont High School. She played for Cogan for nearly four years as a member of the varsity Firebird squad from 2002 to 2006. Now she’s happy to be back and coaching at her alma mater.

“It’s fantastic,” Romine said. “This place is very special to me, so to be able to come back to my hometown, it is unbelievable.”

After graduating from Fairmont, Romine attended Ashland University, where she played basketball and studied to become an English teacher. She graduated from Ashland in 2010 and then coached at the University of Findlay in Ohio, Northwood University in Michigan and Valparaiso High School in Indiana.

When the coaching position opened at Fairmont, Romine pounced. “Any opportunity to come back to a place like Fairmont is very rare,” she said. “It doesn’t happen to everyone, and this place is very special to me. Having that opportunity is something I could not pass up.”

But Romine knows that coaching a team isn’t just about the X’s and O’s. Players get close to their coaches and become accustomed to how they coach. The new Firebird coach understands that player-coach relationship because she experienced it when she played here in high school. She speaks highly of her former coach.

“We are really good friends. We talk every day and we’re always talking about basketball and strategy,” said Romine. She says Cogan is “absolutely” a big influence. “I learned from the best. He always will be a role model to me.”

But Romine said that while her coaching style is influenced by Cogan, it isn’t a carbon copy. “Some things will be the same as I learned from Cogan and things that I did as a player, but there will be a lot of new things as well,” she said.

Romine said she thinks the Firebird players have been pretty accepting of the coaching change. “Going through a coach change is never easy, but they are doing well,” she said. “I think they see my passion for this place and for the program, and we have a really good relationship. They are responding tremendously well.”

Junior Lindsay Breslin, a member of the Girls’ Varsity Basketball team, agrees with Coach Romine’s assessment. “It’s going really well. It’s a lot different, but in a way it’s similar because she used to play here, so it’s not that big of a transition,” said Breslin. “Romine is young and can understand and connect with us better.”

Junior Alyssa Clemente also seems to be adjusting to the coaching change. “I think it’s different, but it’s going really well so far,” she said.

Romine is clearly happy to be in the position she’s in. “Being the coach is a great position and basketball in Kettering has grown over the years, especially the girls,” she said. “To be at that top position is a cool thing and I like it.”

Romine says her goals as a coach are simple. She wants to maintain the success that Cogan achieved and to try to build on it. She also believes that Fairmont has the firepower to return to the podium at the state championship again this year.

“Absolutely this team can win the championship,” said Romine. “We work extremely hard and we have been since I got here in June. It’s not going to stop until we reach that goal. It will take mental toughness and working together.”

Breslin and Clemente summed up their confidence for the year, shouting, “Go Fairmont – two time state championship!”