SHS coaches Byrne, Grams step down |

SHS coaches Byrne, Grams step down

Jason Starr

Summit High School lost two of its most respected coaches this week.

Ron Byrne, the only head coach SHS hockey has known, stepped down after getting the program off the ground the past two years. Also this week, Leonard Grams resigned from the girls basketball team after seven successful seasons.

Byrne’s resignation was the worst-kept secret in Tiger land until he finally made it official Tuesday.

“The word was getting out,” Byrne said. “(Athletic director) Gretchen (Nies) had heard it, so I went over and talked to her. I didn’t want her to get the news that way.”

Byrne never planned to coach more than a couple years. He led the Tigers to their first playoff appearance in February.

“The whole concept was to just help to get the program off to a good start,” he said. “And hopefully we succeeded in that.”

Byrne has groomed assistant Jake Quigley to take over, although the school is always looking for coaches who teach in the building, which Quigley does not. At the very least, Quigley will be the interim coach over the summer, helping players with offseason training.

Quigley said he’s “intimidated” by the prospect of running the program in what would be his first varsity head coaching job, but he also thinks he’s the best person for the job.

“I’ve certainly learned a ton coaching with Ron,” Quigley said. “They’re big shoes to fill. I’m certainly enthusiastic about it, and if I never try it, I’ll never know.”

Quigley played Division III hockey at Hobart College in New York for two years before playing with club teams. He coached with Summit Hockey at the Bantam level before joining Byrne to help start the high school program.

“I think Jake is very interested, and I think he’ll do a tremendous job,” Byrne said. “And I’ll be around and certainly willing to help any way I can from the outside. But whoever the new coach is, it has to be their team, their philosophy and coaching style.”

Grams cited priorities and time constraints as reasons for resigning. He has a 1-year-old child.

“My family is my priority, and the time is just not there,” he said. “I don’t see this as the end of my coaching. It’s just the decision I need to make now.”

Grams joins boys coach Jud Joyce as departed SHS basketball coaches this year. Their successors are less clear than Byrne’s.

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