"Progress, not perfection.”
That’s the mantra that Rob Skrocki, the new girls basketball coach at Monadnock Regional High School, brings to the team.
The girls are coming off a season that ended in heartbreak: a one-point loss to Hopkinton High School in the NHIAA Division 3 quarterfinals. But Skrocki is determined to get the program back to its long-term success.
“Every day we’re not approaching with the expectation of perfection. Every day it’s about progress, not perfection,” Skrocki said.
There will be new coaches at all three levels of the program — middle school, JV and varsity — which will give Skrocki and the rest of the coaching staff an opportunity to do a hard reboot, if you will, and get the ball rolling in the right direction.
“I think it’s great that we’re going to be able to implement a system at all three phases that’s going to be consistent and hopefully permanent, and that will only help us in the future as we grow this program,” Skrocki said.
The program went through a bit of a coaching carousel last season, with Jim Condap filling in for Brian Allard, who was let go midseason. Condap will stay on the staff as an assistant coach this year.
Skrocki spent the last five years as the middle school girls basketball coach. He’s dabbled with JV coaching in the past and was around the varsity team at the end of last season.
“Skrocki was at everything that the varsity did last year to finish the season,” said Monadnock athletic director Tom Cote. “He just tried to basically be a sponge … and so that’s kind of what he did.”
Skrocki’s time coaching at the middle school gave him the opportunity to work with some of the girls who he will now be coaching in high school, like juniors Grace Furze and Grace LeClair, two leaders on the young team. That background is valuable for any first-year head coach, especially in the COVID era when anything can and will happen, oftentimes on short notice.
“I think it helps my comfort level a little bit as we go through this,” Skrocki said. “It’s definitely more comfortable coming into this situation already having some knowledge of the athletes and understanding what we’re going to have to work with.
“All that hard work that we did in middle school — I now get to be a part of their next level,” he added.
Skrocki said he interviewed for the position partly because of the connection he has with the program and the girls.
“There was a need at the varsity level for a coach and I happen to know these players and the division fairly well where I can feel confident about stepping in and making a difference,” he said.
Cote also said Skrocki’s connection with the program helped when looking at the options for the position.
“The kids all know him; they know that he cares about them a ton which you can see very easily just by … his relationship with each girl,” Cote said. “He’s so organized and professional that he’d be a good coach in anything just because he would take the time to make sure that he would be a good coach.”
Tryouts for the team will be held on Monday, Dec. 14. In the meantime, there have been open gyms available for girls to stay in shape. Although Skrocki hasn’t had any official practices as head coach yet, his previous experience with the girls has already given him confidence in the team.
“I can’t say enough about how impressed I am with the group of girls I’m walking into here,” Skrocki said. “They’re just so excited and so willing to work, they’re excited to develop a system and they understand that if things go well, and they show up every day with the right attitude … by the time there’s an open tournament at the end of the season we might be in a position to have a really good chance.”
And the Huskies seem to have confidence in Skrocki, too.
“He’s seen all these girls play. He’s coached them all already. They like him and he likes them,” Cote said. “Their relationship is nothing but positive. It just works. They get Rob and Rob gets them and that’s going to make it easy.
“We’re just very excited to have him,” Cote added.