When the COVID pandemic hit, St. Francis University (N.Y.) senior Abby Anderson had to make a tough call: play her final season for the Division I Terriers or save a year of eligibility, enter the transfer portal in April and suit up one more year at another school as she pursues her master’s degree in finance.

What happened next helped reassure her the latter was the right call.

Western Wayne girls varsity coach Mike Judge heard Anderson was taking classes virtually from home, and had an opening the 22-year-old former Times-Tribune All-Region standout couldn’t pass up.

“Mike Judge called me up one day, not sure why, and said, ‘I need a JV (junior varsity) coach. Would you be interested?’ ” Anderson said.

The answer: an enthusiastic yes.

“Everything since I came home that has happened makes me know my decision was the right one,” Anderson said.

Even if it means coaching against her alma mater,

like she did when Western Wayne hosted Holy Cross on Saturday.

“This opportunity came up — I’m still going to be around basketball and have just as much impact on the kids,” Anderson said. “It’s a chance to get my feet wet, see if it’s something I want to do down the line.”

Holy Cross head coach Barry Fitzgerald frequently said Anderson had the highest basketball IQ of any player he’d coached. Now she’s putting it to new use.

“I didn’t want my senior year to be like it is now, only league games, no fans,” Anderson said. “The NCAA says I can get a year back because St. Francis doesn’t offer a master’s degree in finance.

“I’m not planning to go overseas and play pro ball. It’s not what I want to do. I want to enjoy the year, be successful. Where I end up is to be determined.”


Back in the fold

When Stacey Hart’s career as Honesdale’s point guard ended in 2015, it didn’t seem likely she’d be back on her school’s court, especially after she got a teaching position in Virginia.

With the pandemic closing Virginia classrooms for the rest of the school year, Hart was able to move home to teach virtually. When head coach Ron Rowe found out, he invited Hart to return. She accepted a volunteer coaching assignment, joining former teammate Natasha Hessling on the staff.

Contact the writer:; 570-348-9125