SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — After one season as the interim head coach of the women’s basketball team at The University of Scranton, Deanna Klingman is set to take over the reins of the Abington Heights girls basketball program, replacing John Bucci who resigned following last season.
“I know many of the young ladies that play basketball at Abington Heights,” Klingman said. “I’ve worked with several of the individuals through private lessons and watched them play over the previous years. It’s really nice to give something back to the community I live in and do it with something I’m passionate about.”
Klingman served as an assistant coach at Abington Heights for six years under former head coach Vince Bucciarelli and spent 16 years coaching women’s basketball at both Keystone College and The University of Scranton.
“I hope to get the most out of each individual through coaching them and teaching the game of basketball,” Klingman said. “I’m looking forward to getting on the court. I want to help them work collaboratively to reach their goals and provide a very positive environment where they can reach their full potential.”
Klingman held her first team meeting last week since being named head coach of the Lady Comets. She plans to take the group to a team camp and will hold non-mandatory team workouts throughout the summer.
“It will help the girls get familiar with my coaching style and help me evaluate them as players so I’m ready to put them in positions where they can be most successful on the floor,” she said. “A lot of the girls know me so that will help with the comfort level, as well.”
Klingman hopes to mold the student-athletes both on and off the basketball court.
“I’m going to try to keep it simple,” she said. “It’s going to be about playing defense, rebounding and bringing a lot of effort on a daily basis. I want them to understand they should bring a positive attitude every day they come to practice. It will be nice to share my passion (for basketball) with the girls and help them develop as players and people.”
Klingman’s daughter, Kelly, and three sons Justin, Derek and Colin, have all played sports at Abington Heights and her husband, Steve, has served as the head boys soccer coach since 2009.
“I’m hoping to bring back a family-oriented environment where we’re all striving to do the same thing,” Klingman said. “With every team, there are new challenges. I want them to trust each other on the floor and have a pursuit of excellence every day.
“I’m very excited to get started.”