By Nelson Coffin
Jim Stromberg simply won’t go away, and there are a slew of admirers in the IAAM who prefer that to be the case.
After a long and storied career as a basketball coach that includes winning championships in the A Conference with Seton Keough in 2000 and the B Conference with St. Paul’s School for Girls nine years later, Stromberg applied for and landed the job at Catholic High last summer.
All told, he coached Seton Keough for six years and St. Paul’s for nine after being a longtime assistant to Dave Greenberg at Mount Hebron High School in Howard County. He also coached for two years at Eastern Technical High School in Baltimore County.
It all adds up to a rich résumé that Kari McBride, Catholic High athletic director, was hardly going to toss in a circular file.
Knowing Strombeg from his role as athletic director at St. Paul’s made the choice even easier.
“I am really excited to add Jim Stromberg to our staff and have him work with our young women,” McBride said. “In addition to great experience and knowledge, he brings just the right personality to our program. Having worked with Jim for many years as a member of the IAAM, It's refreshing to hire someone who is familiar with the league, and who I can trust to lead and represent our team and school.”
While it’s obvious that Stromberg is a proven winner on the court, he’s not too bad in his other endeavors as well, considering that he was named Athletic Director of the Year of the 31 IAAM schools by his peers in an overwhelming show respect in 2015.
“Strom” also guided St. Paul’s to an A Conference lacrosse crown in 2004 while admitting that his assistants, Melissa Coyne and Amy Buck, were much better versed in the intricacies of that sport than he was.
It’s just that coaching is in his blood, regardless of the sport. Yet he is a hoops junkie, to be sure, and enjoys the atmosphere that the sport provides.
“I’m excited to get back in the gym,” whose Cubs began formal practices on Monday and will open the season Nov. 27 at home against St. Mary’s, another team featuring an old-school coach in Chuck Miller. “They’re good kids and I know they’re going to work hard.”
Stromberg’s coaching philosophy will be front and center in that he plans to attack at both ends of the floor.
“We’ll start pressing as soon as they get off the bus,” he said about going uptempo as much as possible. “We’ll press and shoot threes, and maybe we’ll even make a couple.”
Three seasoned players, senior Kate Walz and juniors Madison Liggett and Megan Brandt, will lead the Cubs this season.
That said, there should be numerous opportunities for others to log playing time in a system that emphasizes speed, durability and quickness.
In terms of bettering or matching the Cubs’ 12-8 mark last season that ended with a loss to Oldfields in a playoff semifinal, Stromberg stays away from prognostications.
“We don’t talk about wins,” he said. “I told the kids that the goal is to win the last game of the year. Because if we do all the things we should do, winning will take care of itself. And if you win the last game, it’s the championship. And that’s always our goal.”